Living with chronic pain can be challenging. Chronic pain is that which persists for more than three months. Because it is a complex condition that influences behaviors, thoughts, and mood, it can feel like you just need the right medication or treatment to take the pain away. Chronic pain is a complicated condition and approaching it from one angle typically is not enough. It is best addressed with a team of healthcare providers and from a variety of different perspectives.
One treatment option that Veterans are reporting helps to reduce the negative effects of chronic pain is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain. Also known as CBT-CP, this treatment changes the way our brains process pain and it equips individuals with a self-directed, problem-solving approach to manage and decrease the challenges associated with chronic pain. While chronic pain is complex, it is possible to change one’s overall pain experience. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by pain, CBT-CP can help you feel empowered and in control.
The goals of CBT-CP are to help Veterans:
- Increase participation in meaningful activities
- Manage pain flare-ups more effectively
- Decrease pain intensity
- Reduce worries about increased pain or injury
- Improve overall quality of life
Treatment consists of an assessment session and 10 appointments to acquire helpful pain management skills. VA encourages a follow-up session to review implementation and discuss any areas of difficulty. To maximize benefits, attending sessions regularly is recommended.
How to access CBT-CP
CBT-CP is available to Veterans throughout the VA health care system. Speak to a member of your healthcare team (including your primary care provider, your pain management provider, a member of the Primary Care Mental Health Integration team, your therapist, or your psychiatrist) to learn more about how to access care today. Let CBT-CP help you take back your life from pain and begin doing more of what matters to you.
Watch one Veteran’s inspiring story of how CBT-CP improved his life:
Jennifer L Murphy, PhD is Pain Psychology Program Manager at James A Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa. FL and an Associate Professor in the University of Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine, Department of Neurology. She has been Master Trainer and subject matter expert for VA’s CBT-CP since its inception in 2012 and is lead author of the CBT-CP Therapist Manual. Dr Murphy serves as the behavioral pain medicine lead to the VHA pain management program office.