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Relationships | Hobbies


Allen Hume, Ph.D. and Maureen C. Pierce, Ph.D.

Pain often affects our relationships with others, including family, friends, employers and physicians. Often the person in pain doesn't want to feel like a burden to others; other times they seem to want to have someone else take care of everything for them. The family member or friend may feel helpless and unsure how to help—in fact they may not understand how the person in pain is feeling. So what do you do?

You might be surprised at how similar your feelings and thoughts are with those around you. Many times people feel powerless, out of control, angry and frustrated, but we often feel better once we have talked to our friends, family, and others.

Steps to Get There

  1. Ask for what you need from others – don’t assume that they know.
  2. Talk about your concerns.
  3. Balance your needs with the other person's needs as well.
  4. Point out common goals and try working through your differences calmly without raising your voice. Try not to be defensive.
  5. Remember that the other person may not know how you feel—use clear language and check in to see if they understood.
  6. Remember that pain is only one part of your life. It's okay to let others know that you want to talk about "normal" things.
  7. Do what you can to enjoy time with friends and family. Remember to take it easy, be compassionate, they may not think about things the way you have come to understand them
  8. Try new activities and involve others.
  9. Remember that family and friends want to be supportive and understanding, even if you feel like they don't. Let them know it is okay to not know what to do or say. Family and/or couples therapy may be helpful as well.



Gordon Irving, M.D.

Many people in pain feel they can't do or enjoy anything. Is this you? Have you had to stop doing something you love because you felt you could no longer do it?

The good news is that you can often find a way to do it but at a lower intensity. Try a new hobby or one you had before you experienced chronic pain. You can use any hobby that you have enjoyed in the past or want to do now. Sometimes just writing down the steps you need to get there is important in motivating you to do it. One possibility is learning magic.


If you enjoyed entertaining people with magic tricks when you were younger why not try it again? Even if you don’t have experience, why not try something new?

Becoming a magician

Learning some simple magic tricks will work your brain and your body, plus it will give you a new skill which you can use to entertain family and friends. Even people with disabilities can do magic: famous Argentinean magician, René Lavand, performed great sleight of hand even though he only had one hand!

Before we begin there are three rules that you MUST consent to called "the magician's code." The rules are:

  • Practice, practice, and practice tricks before you show them to anyone.
  • Never repeat the same trick for the same people.
  • Never tell how you do your tricks. Magic is based on simple principles and if your audience finds out how it is done, the magic disappears.

Steps to Get There

Visit a magic shop and ask them to help you find books or DVDs to study (see resources.) Get advice from other magicians at clubs, magic shops, or on the Internet (see resources.)

Magic can help with many common social and work situations. To perform magic means learning to be confident in public and understanding how to control audiences.

Courtesy of Alan Kazam


  • Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic by Mark Anthony Wilson. This is remarkably inexpensive for what it contains and many magicians would recommend it as a first book.
  • Jay Sankey's Amazing Magic and Mentalism that Anyone Can Do — Volumes 1 and 2 DVDs. These DVDs can also be ordered from his website, http://www.sankeymagic.com
  • Learn Magic, http://magic.about.com/od/beginningmagic/u/learnmagic.htm  This has lots of free tricks with explanatory pictures, great tips for beginners and plenty of links to other sites where you can get even more free tricks.