Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue

Living with the symptoms of Fibromyalgia and/or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can be a very difficult experience for many. There are many physical symptoms that can be extremely challenging to deal with. At The Option Institute you will find support that will make the challenge less daunting. Let us help you see your illness in a different light and help you to feel empowered by the possibility of overcoming your symptoms. Many participants have come to The Option Institute and by changing their beliefs about their illness, have seen a dramatic dissipation of most of their symptoms. See below for real life stories, additional details and programs.

How Can Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Affect Our Lives?

According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, Fibromyalgia experts estimate that about 10 million Americans suffer from Fibromyalgia Syndrome, most of whom are women.

Dr. Ray Strand, author of What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You, says that Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are considered by many to be different expressions of the same disease.

An article in the Medical Journal of Australia on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (MJA 6 May 2002 176 (9 Suppl): S17-S55), explains that no pharmacological medicine has been proven effective for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Therefore, medical treatments are mostly aimed at relieving symptoms and reducing obstacles to functioning, such as loss of concentration, sleeplessness and depression.

We have a very different approach to Fibromyalgia treatment and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome treatment.

How The Option Institute Can Help

Phyllis Bottome, the British Novelist said, “There are 2 ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them.”

The Option Institute endeavors to help people do the second before they try to do the first.

Living with the symptoms of Fibromyalgia and/or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can be a very difficult experience for many. There are many physical symptoms that can be extremely challenging to deal with. And yet, those of us with these illnesses are, in many cases, sold a set of beliefs that leaves us feeling disempowered and, ultimately, exacerbates, rather than relieves, our experience of being sick.

Our programs give participants the tools to change these beliefs and thus change their emotional experience of their illness. We help people make peace with what is happening in their bodies.

At the same time, we help people adopt a new, more empowering set of beliefs about their physiology. For some, this change in belief and change in emotional state results in a change in their actual physiology. These people report a dramatic dissipation of most or all of their symptoms of Fibromyaligia and/or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases at the National Institutes of Health reports that new studies seem to show that cognitive behavioral therapy (as well as an appropriate exercise program) can greatly help many. We offer an attitudinal and cognitive-based approach which we believe can offer you a possible road to personal well-being. We have seen what is possible and can help you take steps to achieve it for yourself.

Programs for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Overcoming the challenges of a physical illness is a goal many of our participants share, and the feelings of exhilarating seen when results are achieved have been inspiring. Join us for our Inner Strength program where you will build your own internal sense of power, passion and freedom to overcome the symptoms of your Fibromyalgia and/or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This program enables you to access the tools that put you in complete charge of your emotions and behaviors, no matter what is happening around you! Within the two-week program you will develop Herculean strength for dealing with anything that comes your way!



How many times have you set your sites on something only to find yourself feeling handicapped by your Fibromyalgia and/or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Perhaps it’s the job that you didn’t apply for because you “knew” you wouldn’t be able to handle it, or the date that surely would have resulted in rejection. Perhaps there is a dream that you feel has been forever dashed because of your illness. Too often, our wants are neither expressed nor fulfilled – destined to remain longings within us – unless we empower them! Going for and Getting What You Want! gives you practical, hands-on training to develop an unshakable sense of personal power. There will be no idle theorizing or excuses here! Instead, in a fun and feisty format, we’ll challenge and encourage you to bring your own power alive – the power that can help you to overcome your symptoms.


Personal Stories

For 30 years, I have struggled to overcome the challenges in my life: Alcoholic, mentally ill parent, abuse, suicide death of a parent, and an 11-year battle with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. I came to The Option Institute out of desperation, in hopes of just finding some peace in my life. I had given up on recovering from Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. I just wanted to accept the illness and be okay with the limitations I felt it imposed upon me. I was ready to apply for disability and give up my dream and my passion of working with children with special needs.

Before I came to The Option Institute, every day was a struggle. I woke up more tired than I went to sleep the night before. I dragged myself through a very much shortened work day, and still would end up with only enough energy to drag myself in the door after work and go to bed by about 6 p.m. Many times in the middle of my day I would end up crying, wondering how I could make my body keep moving. A short trip to the grocery store was enough to wipe me out. A quarter mile walk would oftentimes mean the rest of the day was spent on the couch resting. I would forget even the simplest things, and my mind seemed like it was in a fog much of the time.   READ MORE

I felt like I was in a living hell. I tried taking a few weeks off of work, only to go back and within a day or 2, be as tired as before I left. I tried everything I could think of, including seeing a top specialist in the country who deals with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome; and none of it seemed to make much difference in my life. With each try, I lost more hope. I was very close to giving up. I was letting go of my dreams for a happy, productive life.

After attending Shortcuts To Happiness week, I climbed the mountain on the Institute’s property, attended classes, went out to eat, went swimming and woke up rested and relaxed for the first time in years. Within the year, I came back and attended theCouplesCourse program with my husband, and then completed the 8-week Grand Summer Sequence (formerly Living the Dream). The emotional and physical changes I have experienced and continue to experience each day of my life are nothing short of miraculous. I am fully recovered from Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, which many experts consider incurable. At the Living the Dream program, I turned my world around. I shoveled rocks and moved logs for 6 hours in a day. I worked every community work project day, and worked as hard as all my classmates. At the end of these days, I was still able to enjoy a night of talking with classmates, walking and enjoying the Institute and its surroundings. I went shopping on the weekends for hours. I went dancing with friends. I took trips to visit relatives. I attended every class, and even avoided a cold that was going around!

As I return home and begin a new job working with a special child, I continue to experience a 40 plus hour work week, and plenty of energy left with which to enjoy my life. I am pursuing physical activities, such as hiking, biking and kayaking and enjoying every wonderful thing my body and mind can do. My latest goal is to train to run a 5-mile road race!

I have tried just about every other treatment out there for Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, and I believe that this is truly the most cost-effective treatment method out there. The Option Institute has been the best investment of my time and energy and the results speak for themselves. I now know that I can make my life what I want it to be. The gifts I received there will have a tremendously positive impact on every moment of the rest of my life. I have my health and my life back thanks to the tools I have learned.

I know I possess the ability to overcome any challenge that may come along, live any dream I can dream up, and will do it with strength, energy and excitement.
Ellen S.

Developmental Therapist, Maine

How can I begin to express my gratitude for what I’ve learned through The Option Institute? There have been so many ‘miracles’ for me!

Here’s one. Several years ago I came home from a stressful trip abroad, and returned to work immediately. Soon I felt the gentle hand of a colleague shaking my shoulder. ‘Karen – wake up!’ I had fallen asleep literally with my face in my work. I went into the ladies room. Imagine my surprise when, hours later, I awoke to find my head propped between the wall and the roll of toilet paper! I ached all over. Something was dreadfully wrong.

Home, in bed, I waited for this ‘flu’ to go away. Three days, 5, 10, 20 days. It didn’t go away. No matter how much I slept, I always felt exhausted. I was dizzy, burned with a constant fever, couldn’t concentrate, had blurred vision, hurt in every joint and muscle.
When I could, I began dragging myself from one doctor to another trying to find out what this mysterious ailment was. The doctors were frustrated and angry with me, because they couldn’t pinpoint the problem. They referred me to psychiatrists because it was ‘all in my head.’ I began to doubt my own sanity!   READ MORE

Finally, one kind doctor diagnosed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a ‘new’ disease that was coming to be known in the media as ‘the flu that doesn’t go away.’ There was no help that the medical profession could offer at this time, except antidepressants. I didn’t want antidepressants, though I certainly was feeling depressed! I wanted to feel alive again! Would I ever be able to dance, to walk a country road, to simply move for the joy of moving? I knew I’d have to find ways to help myself.

At last, after 5 months, the fever subsided and I returned to work, in spite of the pain that still pervaded my hips and knees.
It was at this point that I learned about The Option Institute. The fact that it was nicknamed ”A Place For Miracles’ captured my imagination. Did I ever want a miracle! I signed up for the Happiness GPS®.

During this program, I was assisted to explore my feelings and beliefs about the pain in my body. How did I feel about it? I hated it! Then why did I have it? I didn’t know. Was there something I was afraid that would happen if I didn’t have the pain? Wow! Yes! I was afraid if I didn’t have it, I might allow myself to get exhausted and stressed out all over again, and wind up where I’d been 5 months before, flat on my back, unable to move! After all, I’d heard so often that people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome usually have deep relapses, losing all they have gained.

So, the pain had a purpose! Once I understood that, I changed my entire vision of the situation. I chose to see the pain as a friend. I could even welcome it and be open to learn what it was trying to tell me. I decided to try out this new perspective.

I returned home after the weekend. An amazing thing happened. Within a few days, about 80% of the pain disappeared! In choosing to love and trust my body, instead of drugging it and trying to push the sensations out of my experience, I began to feel alive again!

To think that if I hadn’t found The Option Institute, I could have ended up like so many others with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-depressed, exhausted and in pain-for years and years! While others are still learning to cope with chronic illness, I feel I’ve actually been transformed into a new person. Transformed from a person we could barely walk into one who dances, does yoga and Tai Chi, gardening and in the winter even skis.

Truly, I feel I’ve created the miracle I was searching for, I am so grateful!
Karen R.

Therapist, Rhode Island

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