DIAGNOSIS: Chronic Pain

TREATMENT: Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy for Chronic Pain


  • Basic premise: Group cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) operates under the assumptions chronic pain is real, is stress-related, and the experience of pain involves psychological, biological, and social factors. The main goal of group CBT is to improve patients’ functioning despite the presence of persistent pain. It targets maladaptive thought patterns that interfere with behaviors that can lead to improved functioning and decreased disability. The four core cognitively focused components of this approach include the stress-appraisal-pain connection, pain-related automatic thoughts, pain-related intermediate beliefs, and pain-related core beliefs. Group CBT teaches patients to replace negative, maladaptive automatic thoughts with more rational, accurate thoughts. This is assumed to decrease distress and cultivate a greater sense of control over pain. Paired with persistent behavioral changes, the patient is more empowered to live in a way that cultivates a sense of wellbeing.


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