J. Preston Harley
Specializing in clinical psychology

Dr. J. Preston Harley is a clinical psychologist recognized for his compassionate care to persons experiencing pain.

Dr. Harley is dedicated to the clinical treatment of individuals experiencing chronic pain conditions with behavioral interventions to help promote effective self-management of pain symptoms. He is licensed to practice Psychology in Illinois, and he has been working along with Dr. James Wilson in helping to care for pain patients since 2003.

Dr. Harley is a Fellow of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (FACRM). He is the recipient of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine’s Distinguished Member Award and a Fellow of the National Academy of Neuropsychology. He has been a director of postdoctoral neuropsychology residency and rehabilitation training programs.

He has been an active surveyor for the CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) International for medical rehabilitation programs in brain injury and pain management. He also participates in the International Neuropsychological Society. He has been a life-long member of the American Psychological Association and has been active in the divisions of the Society for Clinical Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation Psychology.
Dr. Harley helps his clients develop self-compassion and the deep self-awareness needed to empower positive changes and healing by incorporating cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques to improve self-management of pain. The client is assisted to reduce feelings of pain, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed and move into a place of wholeness and self-fulfillment.

Behavioral Pain Management

 The goal of the pain management psychologist is to provide timely, effective, and efficient interventions to individuals with pain conditions while meeting best practice standards, using a multidisciplinary and consumer-focused approach.
Treatment Intervention Goals:
  • to improve the individuals' functional performance and quality of life
  • to modify the perception of, and the response to, pain
  • to enhance self-management and reduce reliance on the health care system
  • to promote appropriate use of medication and reduce substance dependency
Psychological pain management services are critical for the comprehensive treatment of patients in pain. Chronic pain is a complex condition influenced by various factors, including physiological, behavioral, environmental, and social variables.

The pain assessment helps to increase the understanding of significant psychological factors in a patient's pain pattern. Assessment can also exclude or confirm important pre-existing personality traits of persons experiencing chronic pain.

Pain management interventions include assessing the psychosocial characteristics of the pain, cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation training, and stress management in conjunction with the medical and pharmacological treatment regime.

Chronic pain rehabilitation involves treating patients with painful conditions by restoring them to their highest attainable physical, cognitive, and emotional functioning maximum self-management skills to promote independence from health care and reduce subjective pain intensity. Stress can contribute to or exacerbate pain; relaxation techniques can alleviate pain by easing tension.

Chronic pain rehabilitation is not a curative model. It is a restorative model, emphasizing improving the patient's overall level of function and independence, not just a reduction in subjective pain intensity. By definition, it is typically more labor-intensive for the therapist and the patient, with active behavioral and cognitive therapies emphasized.

Persistent pain often results in negative thinking patterns: jumping to conclusions, overgeneralization, catastrophizing, selective attention, and making pessimistic predictions.

Treatment goals are designed to assist patients in understanding how their thoughts and behaviors can affect the pain experience, help patients develop practical coping skills, and apply and maintain their learned pain management coping skills.
  • Common cognitive-behavioral treatments:
  • Relaxation skills training
  • Problem-solving and coping skills
  • Promotion of self-management of persistent pain
  • Guided imagery
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Goal setting and self-pacing strategies
  • Habit reversal
  • Maintenance and relapse prevention
The patient is not simply a passive recipient of procedural and pharmacological interventions but is encouraged to take an active role in working with the pain management staff. Although such treatments may be part of the treatment plan, they are not the single focus of care since pharmacological treatments may foster or perpetuate passivity and dependence.

Pain is not an isolated sensation in a patient's body, but rather it can affect a person's whole existence. Therefore, it is necessary to treat the pain and the entire patient with chronic pain to lead to a fulfilling, enjoyable lifestyle.

Contact Information

Interventional Pain Specialists
James E. Wilson, M.D.

  By Appointment Only
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