Psychological interventions: Cognitive approaches


Chair: Tamar Pincus, United Kingdom
Psychological interventions
Harbinder Sandhu, United Kingdom
Chronic pain is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. It is described as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage” with further recognition on, personal and life experiences, bio-psycho-social factors and adverse effects on function and social and psychological wellbeing (IASP, 2020). Approaches to support the management of chronic pain are therefore required to be multifactorial including components of cognitive function for psychological wellbeing. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the approaches used to help people learn skills to recognise the role of thoughts and beliefs, encourage a change in thought formulation and behaviour and improve sense of wellbeing despite their pain. Pioneered by Arron Beck in the 1960s one of the key principles of CBT is the importance of understanding the interpretation of events or a situation, and the impact on behaviour and wellbeing as a result. Although thoughts are not necessarily a cause of problems (e.g. pain), they can play a powerful role in maintaining dysfunctional beliefs and behaviour. In a recent review of psychological treatments aimed to reduce pain, disability and distress (William et al 2020), CBT had the largest evidence base with 50 studies and over 5000 participants. The review of studies found that the use of CBT across these studies had a small or very small beneficial effects for reducing pain, disability, and distress in chronic pain. This session will explore the role of cognitive appraisal and reframing in pain management, using case examples and application.

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