DIAGNOSIS: Chronic Pain

TREATMENT: Group ACT for Chronic Pain


  • Basic premise: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for chronic pain focuses on the adoption of effective behavior patterns which are guided by individual values (who and what is truly important). Contrary to other treatments for pain-related issues, the primary aim of ACT does not include controlling pain or related symptoms. Instead, the primary aim includes changing the way people relate to their inner thoughts, feelings, and experiences to subsequently change their behavior. This is achieved through helping participants struggle less with the pain itself and connect more with their values. The treatment often includes mindfulness-based interventions and other skills training such as acceptance, cognitive defusion, committed action, and contact with the present moment.


Alonso-Fernández, M., López-López, A., Losada, A., González, J. L., & Wetherell, J. L. (2016). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and selective optimization with compensation for institutionalized older people with chronic pain. Pain Medicine17(2), 264–277.

Cosio, D. (2019). A group-based, acceptance & commitment therapy intervention for chronic pain. Social Work with Groups, 43(4), 334–346.

Feliu-Soler, A., Montesinos, F., Gutiérrez-Martínez, O., Scott, W., McCracken, L. M., & Luciano, J. V. (2018). Current status of acceptance and commitment therapy for chronic pain: A narrative review. Journal of Pain Research11, 2145–2159.

McCracken, L. M., Yu, L., & Vowles, K. E. (2022). New generation psychological treatments in chronic pain. BMJ (Clinical research ed.)376, e057212.

McCracken, L. M., Sato, A., & Taylor, G. J. (2013). A trial of a brief group-based form of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for chronic pain in general practice: Pilot outcome and process results. The Journal of Pain, 14(11), 1398-1406.