Common Treatment Elements

Sleep Hygiene

For people with chronic physical and mental health conditions, sleep disruption is a common problem. This includes trouble falling asleep, waking up during the night and waking earlier than desired. In addition, many such individuals describe not feeling refreshed in the morning when they awaken, a sleeping problem termed “non-restorative sleep”. At Odyssey Health Services, the aggressive management of sleep disturbance is an important treatment objective. We address two important factors: the individual’s personal habits and their sleeping environment. The things a person does during the day and leading up to sleeping at night can impact sleep just as much as the environment that they choose to sleep in. Learning how to optimize both their personal habits and sleep environment is paramount to successful sleep.


At Odyssey Health Services, we believe that it is important to both provide information and clear up misconceptions in order to increase the likelihood of better outcomes. The clinicians at Odyssey Health Services use bibliotherapy, education related to the individual’s chronic condition and collaboration with the client’s health care providers to ensure that each client has accurate, up to date information on which to base their decisions about how to make changes in their lives. It is important for long-term success that the client is able to self-manage their chronic condition in the future.

Rebuilding Social, Recreational and Family Activities

The clients we see at Odyssey Health Services often describe avoidance and withdrawal as a primary coping strategy in order to manage their symptoms of pain and suffering. It is therefore not surprising that the very vicious cycle of physical and emotional withdrawal results in diminished meaningful interactions or activities that an individual would typically find rewarding or vital in their life. Our clinicians guide patients through a graduated return to meaningful activity while assisting them to incorporate recommended strategies for managing discomfort. Patients are supported to achieve attainable, measurable reactivation goals that result in them being able to safely resume activities of daily living despite their symptoms.

Mindfulness Training

Mindfulness meditation is based on ancient Eastern meditation practices that focusses on paying attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity, and acceptance. Mindfulness helps people to accept their experiences, both physical and mental, rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance. In this way, mindfulness can help our clients to transform their relationship with painful thoughts and feelings in a way that reduces their impact and influence over their lives.

Quota Based Physical Conditioning

At Odyssey Health Services our clinicians use both graduated cardiovascular training and progressive resistance training depending on a client’s presenting difficulties, current level of physical functioning and requirements of the job to assist the individual to gradually resume their pre-disability level of functioning.

Flor and Turk in Melzack and Wall’s Textbook of Pain 5th Edition (2006) state:

“The negative reinforcement of activity levels is an important process in the development of disability. People with chronic pain typically attempt to base their decisions about the amount of physical activity or work they perform on the level of pain they experience or anticipate. Patients with fibromyalgia syndrome tend to overestimate the extent of their physical limitations. This overestimation may lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy and inhibit their activities because they view themselves as more disabled than they actually are. A specific activity (e.g. walking) is performed until pain sets in, at which point the activity is interrupted and replaced by rest. Subsequently the pain will be reduced.

This reduction of pain negatively reinforces the cessation of activity. The cessation of activity has to be made dependent on the amount of activity achieved, quota based, rather than on the amount of pain. Thus, the pain reinforcing quality of rest is eliminated. This formulation supports the strategy of encouraging patients to perform activity to meet a specific quota” (that is not based upon level of pain).”

Work Hardening

For an individual who has been off work for an extended period of time, the key to a successful outcome is the preparation for a return to work. Our work hardening process is designed to utilize real or simulated work activities intended to restore physical, behavioural and vocational functions. Work Hardening addresses the issues of productivity, safety, physical tolerances and worker behaviours. At Odyssey Health Services we use both cognitive and physical work hardening strategies.

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