Are You Having a Headache? A Headache Psychologist Answers Your Questions.

As a psychologist who specializes in providing non-medication treatments to individuals with headaches, I find that many people have questions about the services I provide through telemedicine and in my office in Tampa, Florida. Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions I answer routinely to clients who contact me throughout the Sunshine State.


What is a Headache Psychologist?


As a headache psychologist, I do not prescribe medications. I will help you discover the root cause of your headaches, teach you techniques to improve your quality of life, and decrease your pain.


I have a doctorate or a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and I am licensed to practice in the state of Florida (PY 6420). I use my expertise in cognitive-behavior therapy (more below) and other behavioral treatments to help people who have all types of headaches, including

  • Migraine headaches

  • Tension headaches

  • Cluster headaches

Very few psychologists consider themselves headache specialists and are able to employ the treatments that I use. Since these are non-medication or non-pharmacological therapies, many of my clients view my treatment for their headaches as a more natural treatment for their headaches. Some clients think of it as holistic medicine, but make no mistake, what I provide is established therapy that has proven to be effective.


I'm Looking for a Health Psychologist. Is that the Same Thing as a Headache Psychologist?


A headache psychologist is a type of health psychologist. Health psychology is an area of psychology that examines how social, environmental, and psychological factors affect a person’s health. A health psychologist explores how an individual’s psychology can improve one’s health and prevent medical problems.


My early education was as a health psychologist. Shortly after I moved to Tampa, I was treating people in different medical settings. If one has medical problems, she or he is often experiencing pain.


Since 2009, I have focused solely on helping people with their pain problems. Hence, my training has become more specialized over the years: from health psychologist to pain psychologist, and now headache psychologist.


Health Psychologist >> Pain Psychologist >> Headache Psychologist



Will You be Able to Cure My Headaches?


I routinely help people with severe migraine headaches reduce the number of migraines they have each month. For example, a man who recently moved to Tampa decreased the frequency of his migraine headaches from twice per week to only having one migraine day each month.


Another client I worked with developed the ability to predict when his migraine headaches were going to occur after four sessions with me. This helped significantly to improve his quality of life. One night he knew that he needed to go to sleep two hours early so that the extra rest could prevent a severe headache the next day. This prediction enabled him to go to Busch Gardens with his family and saved a memorable family outing.


Unfortunately, about 90% of all people will have a headache of some kind each year, usually after they eat something different or spend too much time outside in the Florida sun. So, I cannot guarantee that you will never have another headache for the rest of your life after seeing me.


Since You Are a Psychologist, Do You Think My Headaches Are Not Real? Will You Think I'm Just Making Them Up?


I fully believe everybody who tells me they have a headache is

experiencing an intense level of pain that makes it difficult for them to function, usually for several hours or days. As a health or pain psychologist specializing in treating people with headaches, I can offer a different form of treatment than what is usually offered by medical doctors. I’m not going to tell you to take these different pills if your headache does not improve. I am going to seek a solution that is better for you.


Can You Help Everybody With Their Headaches?


I help people with their headaches every day. My treatment is NOT for everybody, but it can be for you. If you are seeking different medications or hoping to receive an experimental

medication or want a new procedure like an injection, then I am not the professional for you. However, if you are open to new information and willing to make some changes in your life to implement a headache treatment that does not include medications, then call to make an appointment.


Be like the man from St. Petersburg who decreased his headaches using a more “holistic” approach after the first four medications he was prescribed did nothing for his migraine headaches. Or, be similar to the South Tampa woman who had been taking the same two medications for her headaches for the past 5 years. She used cognitive-behavioral therapy to better manage her headaches and is now taking fewer pills each day.


Do I Have to Stop Taking Medications to do Your Treatments?


No, you do not need to stop taking the medications you are prescribed to treat your headaches if you make an appointment with me. Although I do not prescribe medications, I am not against people using medications to treat their headaches.


Often a combination of medications and non-pharmacological treatments is the best plan of treatment for a person to decrease her or his headaches. However, if you are experiencing side effects from a medication or do not believe your headaches are getting any better or if you just wish to take less pills, there are alternative or complementary or behavioral treatment techniques that can help you with your headaches, and these treatments can be just as effective as the prescribed medications.


What Are Some Possible Side Effects of Your Treatment?


One of the best aspects of non-medication or behavioral treatment for headaches is that there are minimal negative side effects.


When individuals are prescribed a new medication for their headaches, they could develop a rash or find that their thinking is affected. Often a person is worried that she or he will become dependent on this medication. Since my treatment is considered more of a natural headache treatment or a holistic headache treatment, these types of negative side effects will not occur. The main complaint that clients have who do not benefit from non-medication or behavioral headache treatment is that the sessions occupied their time or that there was no change in their headaches.


What is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Headaches?


Cognitive-behavioral therapy for headaches has a person looking at how she or he is thinking and how her or his actions affect the development of their headaches. My treatment philosophy also includes examining how the environment affects an individual’s headaches.


By examining how one’s environment, thinking, and behaviors cause or influence a person’s headaches, a cognitive-behavioral psychologist like myself can suggest changes to make in a person’s lifestyle, thoughts, and actions to lessen one’s headaches. These changes do not occur after just one meeting, but often the improvement an individual achieves with her or his headaches will end up lasting for the long-term.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy is highly successful at preventing the occurrence of a headache and limiting the effects of a severe headache on a person’s functioning. Please note that cognitive-behavioral therapy is also referred to as CBT, but CBT does not involve any cannabidiol (CBD) or any forms of cannabis.


Are There Resources on the Internet About Headaches?


There are some very good resources on the internet where an individual can learn more information about headaches and the treatment of headaches. I suggest visiting the websites of the American Headache Society and the National Headache Foundation. Both of these organizations publish articles and guidelines to help a person with her or his headaches.


How do I Schedule an Appointment?


If this information has been helpful, then call me at 813-690-8506.


I see clients in my office in Tampa and provide virtual or telemedicine appointments for individuals locally and throughout the state. Since I am licensed in Florida, I mainly focus on treating Floridians near Tampa with headaches, but I have done telemedicine sessions with people in Orlando, Ocala, and Jacksonville.


Additional information about me can be found on my website TakagishiPsychology.com. If you wish to discuss how to begin non-medication or non-pharmacological treatment for your headaches that would include cognitive-behavioral therapy, I would be happy to discuss this with you at any time.


#headaches #headachepsychology #headachepsychologist


Photography by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

28 views0 comments