Personal Statement

A 35-year career in a field that deals with the mind and the heart can prepare you for many of life’s challenges. It does not however, arm you with the skills needed to face the challenge of caring for and losing a spouse with Alzheimer’s dementia.

During the 7 years I cared for Walt, my husband, I kept journals, sought professional advice, hunted guidance wherever I could find it. What I found was a desert of shared experience and self-care advice for the caregiver.

Before I Lose My Own Mind is a memoir, and consolidation of what I learned. While I am proud of my previous accomplishments, this is the experience I most want to give to the 16 million invisible caregivers who are coping with the grief, exhaustion, and loneliness of a challenge they never expected.

I am in the process of publishing this work and more information will be made available here on this website.

Beverly Thorn, Phd

Dr. Thorn Books

This book is in the editing process. Please contact Dr. Thorn directly for current status.

Before I Loose My Own Mind
Surviving a Loved One’s Dementia

Just when our lives are progressing neatly and according to some grand plan, we face heartbreaking surprises that shake us to the core. In 2014, my 35 year career as a respected and published psychologist ended abruptly with my husband Walter’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and subsequent disability. I found myself in foreign territory. I was convinced I wouldn’t survive this unwanted challenge. Caring for Walt required the devotion of my brainpower, patience and emotional fortitude to the caregiver role, but without the loss of my own sanity.

This book tells the story of how I ran − and survived − the dementia caregiving gauntlet. While there are many sources written for the caregiver, they are geared toward helping the caregiver manage the loved one, not from the perspective of helping the caregiver survive the ongoing stress of providing care. Before I Lose My Own Mind fills that void.

Caregiving is an invisible, lonely task, but the caregiver is not alone in this struggle. Today in America, 16 million husbands and wives, adult children and elderly siblings are living with the exhaustion, isolation, despair, and physical impossibilities of caring for a loved one with dementia. Many of them live in fear of developing dementia themselves. Between the time when Walt was diagnosed with dementia, until 2020, when he died, I was one of them. Before I Lose My Own Mind is a personal narrative offering tips and hope to caregivers to help them protect their own well-being and continue living their own lives.

Cognitive Therapy for Chronic Pain

Cognitive Therapy for Chronic Pain

This go-to manual—now revised and significantly expanded with more than 50% new material—has enabled thousands of clinicians to effectively treat clients with chronic pain. In the face of today’s growing opioid crisis, pain self-management techniques are needed now more than ever. The volume shows how to implement 10 treatment modules that draw on proven cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) strategies. In a convenient large-size format, it includes 58 reproducible client handouts and assessment tools that purchasers can photocopy from the book or download and print from the companion website. The website also offers access to downloadable audio recordings of relaxation exercises narrated by the author, plus supplemental resources for treating clients with lower levels of literacy.

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Dr. Thorn Workbooks

Learning About Pain Management Patient Workbook

LAMP CBT: Patient Workbook

This patient workbook is based on a multi-year effort to provide cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for chronic pain to people with low health literacy. Typical approaches to the management of chronic pain have focused on biomedical treatments, which are expensive and have undesirable side-effects. Recent clinical practice guidelines stress non-pharmacological approaches to chronic pain management, but access to CBT is limited, particularly 
in low-SES communities. The problem of limited literacy is a growing concern and many Americans lack the ability to use print materials in everyday life. Many studies have demonstrated the link between limited literacy skills and poor health outcomes among adults in the U.S. Further, cognitive therapy requires some abstract thinking and problem solving, and this workbook provides a simplified approach in an effort to best promote these skills in patients with limited literacy. The written materials in this patient workbook were reduced from the tenth-grade level to the fifth-grade level, consistent with health literacy guidelines.
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Learning About Managing Pain - Patient Workbook Therapist Edition

LAMP CBT: Therapist Edition

The therapist edition of this simplified patient workbook includes scripts for session summaries (referred to as “Session Tips” in the workbook) and relaxation scripts used in this program. The therapist can make audios from the scripts and give these to patients, who can, in turn, remind themselves about the sessions without the burden of reading. Further, relaxation audios are a common way of helping patients gain and practice these important pain management skills.

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Beverly E. Thorn

Beverly E. Thorn, PhD, ABPP, is Professor Emerita of Psychology at the University of Alabama, where she was on the faculty for 30 years, including serving as Director of the Clinical Psychology PhD program for 15 years and Department Chair for 5 years. She is board certified in clinical health psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. She is the recipient of the 2018 Wilbert E. Fordyce Clinical Investigator Award from the American Pain Society, the 2020 Ronald Melzack Lecture Award from the International Association for the Study of Pain and is a Fellow of the Society for Health Psychology (Division 38 of the American Psychological Association (APA)), the Society of Clinical Psychology (Division 12 of the APA), and the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

 

Dr. Thorn was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Clinical Psychology and has been on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, including Health PsychologyPainJournal of Pain, and European Journal of Pain. Her research has focused on investigating the important components of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for chronic painful conditions, for which she has received grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Patient Centered outcomes Research Institute, as well as private foundations. Since retiring in 2016, she has remained actively involved in dissemination and implementation of CBT for chronic pain with low-income, multiply disadvantaged populations. She also consults in health care settings to help train behavioral health providers to implement CBT for pain management.

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests
Assessment and treatment of persistent painful conditions; health behaviors; living with chronic illness.

Clinical, Teaching, and Speaking Interests
Simplifying psychological treatments for chronic pain.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Reducing caregiver stress/care for the caregiver

Affiliations
Clinical Health Psychology
Clinical Geropsychology
Center for Mental Health and Aging

Beverly E. Thorn, Phd.

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