Getting to know CHYP and their innovative approach to chronic pain

By combining creative therapy and education, CHYP is helping teens and young adults better manage their chronic pain.

We are so thrilled and proud to introduce you to our partner organization, CHYP. They share our belief that we achieve more together than we ever can alone, and it is an honor to support their amazing work!

Meet Dr. Lonnie Zeltzer, CHYP founder and a true icon in the world of pain!

As the founder of Creative Healing for Youth in Pain (CHYP), every step of this journey has been driven by a fervent belief in the power of creative experiences to heal. The inception of CHYP stemmed from witnessing the silent struggles of young individuals trapped in the complexity of chronic pain.

The seeds of CHYP were sown – a mix of professional experience and an unwavering commitment to carve a different path for those navigating the challenges of chronic pain. During my tenure as Director of the UCLA Pediatric Pain and Palliative Care Program, it became evident that conventional approaches, while invaluable, often overlooked a crucial element: the transformative power of creative expression.

The vision for CHYP crystallized around the understanding that pain isn’t just physical; it’s an intricate web that entangles the mind and spirit. It became apparent that merely addressing the physical manifestations of pain was insufficient. To effect genuine change, the healing process needed to engage the whole person.

Rewiring the brain to improve pain

CHYP is an online nonprofit for youth ages 13-24 that was built on the understanding that creative techniques – be it writing, yoga, art, acupuncture or other immersive experiences – can help rewire the nervous system’s pain routes – moving the brain’s circuits to other creative areas, instead of getting “stuck” in the pain circuit. Youth can learn to “unstick” their own sticky neural pain loop and rewire their own brain.

The CHYP ethos is not only to help alleviate pain by rewiring the brain’s pain circuits but also to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness that often accompany it as well as to provide educational resources to help youth navigate pain.

CHYP takes the traditional bio-psycho-social model of pain and turns it into a non-clinical intervention rooted in science and focused on creative healing experiences, education, and peer support. Acknowledging the significance of holistic support, CHYP also aids caregivers of youth living with chronic pain through educational resources and peer support. Using a fully online platform, CHYP is able to reduce common healthcare barriers like cost, geographic location, and long wait times for appointments with doctors through our initiatives that complement clinical interventions.

To all the young warriors and caregivers out there facing the challenges of pain, we extend a heartfelt invitation to join the CHYP community. The CHYP website is a gateway to a myriad of free programs and resources for both youth and caregivers including monthly webinars with clinical experts, monthly creative healing experiences, and monthly opportunities to connect with peers

About the Author

Lonnie Zeltzer, is an Emerita Distinguished Professor at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. She founded UCLA’s Pediatric Pain and Palliative Care Program and co-authored the Institute of Medicine’s report on Transforming Pain in America. With over 400 publications, she’s a leading expert in pain management and has served on numerous prestigious committees, including the FDA and NIH. She runs Creative Healing for Youth in Pain (CHYP), providing online support and creative arts programs for young people in pain (