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Humanitarian work in Gaza – Part 2

by | Mar 29, 2023 | Chronic pain, Humanitarian, Pain Coach

Teaching and training chronic pain in gaza ~ Humanitarian mission

Teaching about chronic pain has its challenges, which is partly why I love doing it.

Helping clinicians learn and grow so that they can help patients — a knock on effect.

It’s these challenges that are part of the issue of course.

Like the rest of the world, the biomedical model predominates in Gaza both in healthcare and society.

In short, the biomedical model seeks a structural or pathological cause for pain and then tries to fix that cause.

That’s not how pain works though. And we have known that for many years (the 70s).

It’s the wrong model for chronic pain.

There are better ways. They are more complex, but by the very nature of being more complex offer many opportunities to help people.

For example, enactivism, PP and complex systems theory. Coming through these related lenses, we can help people understand their experiences and marry them with what can be seen.

The biomedical model obsesses with what can be measured and seem, often ignoring the lived experience (what it is like for the person). This is one of the reasons it fails. We seek to shape better experiences, and they are often not tethered with what can be seen.

As I said, this is a challenge the world over and the staunch continued use of the biomedical model is limiting our progress.

Getting started

Deep discussion

The first step was to develop a relationship so that we could begin a dialogue.

This means understanding the current position and beliefs.

Then introducing new material: models and science and practical ways of working with people who are suffering chronic pain.

There was a lot of material to cover!

In the time we had together, we created a great rapport.

A trusting environment.

I noted a thirst for learning, a passion for helping people and a spirit of support for each other.


There were many memorable moments.

Herbal tea to help my voice

A few days in, my voice started to go. A combination of lots of talking and the dry, dusty air. Immediately I was offered tea and soothing sweets.

It was wonderful to see the team willing to try some new practices and strategies with patients.

Seeing their faces and those of the patients when breakthroughs happened, was magical. Especially motor imagery and then observing people walk and lift their arms 😊.

Some thought there were special powers at play!

Just human ones we all have: care, compassion, collaboration.

Transformation is possible.

Impermanence sees to that as does education, empowerment and encouragement.

The work continues…


I am running 65k to raise money and awareness for Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). You can support here.


🔥 I am Richmond. I help you understand, ease and overcome chronic pain so you can live a valued and meaningful life, using practical skills and strategies.

🔥 And teach, train and mentor the clinicians/therapists who help people who are suffering.

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