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CBT for Chronic Pain

A negative feedback loop between chronic pain, mood, thoughts, and behaviors can occur. For instance, when you are in pain, you might feel sad, worried, or irritable and have thoughts such as “I can’t do anything with this pain” or “This pain will never get better.” Because of these thoughts and feelings, or because of the fear of doing further harm, you might cancel plans, call in sick to work, lay in bed, etc., which can then worsen your mood and your pain. And the cycle continues…


CBT-CP aims to reverse this negative feedback loop by giving you strategies to gradually relate to your pain differently, increase your activity safely, and challenge negative beliefs surrounding your pain. These strategies have been shown to make the body’s natural pain relief system more powerful and improve functioning. In fact, research has shown that CBT-CP is at least as effective, or even better, than other treatments, like medication and surgery, with far less risk and side effects. CBT-CP can also work in conjunction with medical interventions to increase their effectiveness. I will work with you to determine how the negative feedback loop shows up in the context of your chronic pain and teach you the strategies your need to help decrease your pain and improve your quality of life.

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