Accept Pain for a Vital Life: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Pain
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Place of publicationCham
SourceSomatoform and Other Psychosomatic Disorders: A Dialogue Between Contemporary Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Perspectives
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This chapter presents an overview of the complex multifaceted phenomenon of chronic pain that entails both physical and psychological components. It discusses the deleterious impact of chronic pain on mood, mental health, sleep, quality of life, physical, work, social, sexual, and family functioning as well as its direct and indirect costs on healthcare. It questions traditional approaches to pain and wonders whether the focus of pain management should be on decreasing pain or suffering. The chapter proposes a new approach to dealing with pain, specifically acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and presents its underlying psychological flexibility model, providing examples of its six interrelated core skills. Empirical evidence is provided of the broad applicability of ACT in several mental health disorders and medical conditions, accentuating the strong empirical support of ACT for chronic pain. Lastly, this chapter discusses a European Union grant-funded project called “ALGEA” that examines the effects of a modernized ACT protocol for chronic pain patients and their families. Directions for future research incorporate the development and implementation of a digital adaptation of the ALGEA program (“ALGEApp”).