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Special Event for Global Day Against Pain

CBT for pain practical skills to promote pain self-management

Helen Macdonald

Friday, 11 October 2024


Persistent pain is common in the global population and has an impact on all aspects of the person’s life, their circumstances, and relationships. It can be due to a known injury or illness, or no known cause. CBT including ACT approaches have the strongest evidence-base for supporting people to live well with long term pain. 

The event will be equivalent to 1 hrs of CPD.


Using examples, the content will include a very brief overview of how physical and psychological experiences interact, using a bio-psycho-social approach, with a key focus on formulation and education to understand the impact of pain and identify possible areas for change. This in turn informs how evidence-based interventions are used with clients to enhance quality of life and engage in valued activities despite the impact of the pain.

Learning Objectives

1. Participants will identify transferrable skills from their current CBT practice which can be applied to support self-management in persistent pain
2. Participants will learn about practical and therapeutic adaptations and how to apply them to support working with people who have long term pain
3. Using examples from clinical practice, participants will use a focus on the impact of pain to inform case conceptualisation and intervention planning

Training Modalities

Training will include Q&A and opportunities for discussion, based on a brief presentation and examples from their own and the trainer’s clinical practice. There will be experiential activities, role play demonstration, and polls.

Key References

Treede, Rolf-Detlefa,*; Rief, Winfriedb; Barke, Antoniab et al Chronic pain as a symptom or a disease: the IASP Classification of Chronic Pain for the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). PAIN 160(1):p 19-27, January 2019. | DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001384

Cole, F, Macdonald, H, Carus, C (2020) Overcoming Chronic Pain, a self-help guide using cognitive-behavioural techniques 2nd edition, Robinson. Reading Well books on prescription series

Macdonald, H and Stalmeisters, D, (2016) Greg, a case study of chronic pain in Corrie, S, Townend, M and Cockx, A (2016) Assessment and Formulation in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Sage

Wyns A, Hendrix J, Lahousse A, De Bruyne E, Nijs J, Godderis L, Polli A. The Biology of Stress Intolerance in Patients with Chronic Pain-State of the Art and Future Directions. J Clin Med. 2023 Mar 14;12(6):2245. doi: 10.3390/jcm12062245. PMID: 36983246; PMCID: PMC10057496.

Moore, Pete, retrieved 4th April 2024

About the presenter

Helen Macdonald is a BABCP Fellow and Accredited Cognitive-Behavioural Psychotherapist, Supervisor and Trainer. She has more than 30 years' experience of delivering therapy; providing clinical supervision and teaching. She has a background in Mental Health Nursing, and is a Registered Practitioner Psychologist in Health, Consultant in EMDR; Senate Award Fellow of the University of Sheffield, , and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She is Training Co-ordinator on the Board of the European Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies.

She has worked in adult mental health since 1983, specialising in CBT from 1990. She is an associate lecturer in CBT at the University of Sheffield leading the Long-term Conditions module for CBT therapists. She provides national and international workshops on CBT for persistent pain, long term health conditions and basic CBT skills.

Who should attend

This event is suitable for practitioners with an interest in psychological aspects of pain management. It will assume that participants have training and experience in using CBT or CBT-informed approaches in primary and secondary care settings, and may also be of interest to other practitioners who work with persistent pain. The session will primarily focus on work with adults.

Details coming soon

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