Full Course Description

The Chronic Pain Tool Box: Effective Interventions for Treating Complex Chronic Pain


  • Specify the difference between chronic pain and a complex chronic pain syndrome and how conventional treatments (including MAT, procedures, and surgery) often “make it worse.”

  • Delineate the difference between physical pain and emotional suffering and how the 5 Big Negative Emotions magnify the pain experience as it relates to clinical practice.

  • Establish the ability to conduct an effective biopsychosocial assessment of chronic pain and use pain scales to recalibrate pain levels and increase wellness in a clinical setting.

  • Utilize cognitive restructuring to assist clients in creating “black duck moments” in session that will change their perspective on their pain experiences and motivate them to live more active and purposeful lives.

  • Practice 3 ACT interventions to defuse the impact of chronic pain and increase client commitment to positive behavioral change for symptom management.

  • Implement 4 mindfulness-based interventions to empower clients to manage their pain by going FAR.

  • Integrate the power of gratitude into your practice to decrease pain and increase wellness to improve treatment outcomes.

  • Develop the competency to guide a multidisciplinary approach to pain management that connects pain clients and families to resources beyond therapy to improve client level of functioning.


  • The Chronic Pain Dilemma
    • Pain and its impact on society
      • Neurophysiology and psychology of pain
      • Benefits and the risks of opioids
      • Pain and the family
    • Complex Chronic Pain
      • The progression from acute to chronic pain (physical and emotional factors)
      • Chronic pain syndrome and its constellation of symptoms
      • Conventional treatments and why they fail
    • Pain vs suffering: What are we really treating?
      • The 5 big “negative” emotions that magnify pain
      • The number one rule in pain management
      • Strategies to un-attach pain from suffering
    • Assessment
      • The Interview
        • Validation and the therapeutic alliance
        • Collect a biopsychosocial history
        • Co-occurring disorders and other risk factors
      • The Battery
        • Useful self-report measures
        • Interpretation of results for case conceptualization
        • Effective treatment planning
    • The Chronic Pain Toolbox
      • Best Practice Guidelines and treatment options
        • APA Division 12 recommendations
        • CDC and government recommendations
        • Empathy and the power of the therapeutic alliance
      • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
        • Unleash “black ducks” to eat up ANTs
        • Harness the power of client’s own words
        • Recalibrate Pain: a cognitive approach
        • Mindfulness
        • Why mindfulness is essential for the treatment of chronic pain
        • 4 creative interventions to help clients see “What is NOT wrong with me”
        • The FAR approach and how it resonates with clients
        • Limitations of the psychotherapeutic approach
      • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
        • Cognitive defusion and how to use it with clients
        • The Values Compass and how to help clients find their True North
        • Develop motivation and commitment
        • Limitations of the psychotherapeutic approach
      • Gratefulness
        • The hidden power of gratefulness and its evidence for chronic pain
        • 3 gratitude interventions that directly impact the pain experience
      • More Tools You Can Use
        • Include the family in treatment
        • Effective sleep hygiene
        • Multidisciplinary treatments: when and how to use them
        • The T.E.M.P.L.E.S.S hand-out you can share with clients
        • Patient advocate resources
        • Recovery resources
Copyright : 04/12/2018

BONUS | Opioids and Chronic Pain

The opioid epidemic is spilling into consulting rooms as more therapists encounter clients overusing these dangerous medicines to treat their chronic pain. Although behavioral interventions are the treatment of choice for pain, prescriptions for opioids—the least effective and riskiest treatment option—continue to rise.

Led by a therapist and a physician, this workshop recording digs into the epidemic, and the mindfulness and CBT approaches that bring dramatic improvements to people with pain.  

Program Information


  1. Discover what’s behind the opioid misuse/chronic pain link and how to reduce your clients’ reliance on opioids
  2. Discover how to better understand and address clients’ fears and feelings by recognizing the intersecting neurophysiology of pain and opioid misuse
  3. Discover how to help clients use cutting-edge, evidence-based tools to treat chronic pain, like modifying thought distortions, decatastrophizing, imagery and breathing



  • Opioid Facts
  • Opioid Increase
  • 3 Key Concepts


  • Types of Pain
  • Pain Pathways
  • Central Sensitization
  • Radio Frequency Denervation
  • Opioid Withdrawal Pain


  • What is an Opioid?
  • Dopamine & Opioid Receptors
  • The “Dorothy Reaction”


  • Prescription Opioid Use & Abuse
  • Chronic Pain on Opioids vs. Opioid Use Disorder with Pain

Opioids & Acute Pain

  • Definition of Acute Pain
  • Efficacy of Pain Medications for Acute Pain

Opioids & Chronic Pain

  • Definition of Chronic Pain
  • Central Sensitization Inventory
  • Treatment of Chronic Pain
  • Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder

Behavioral Treatment of Chronic Pain

  • CBT for Chronic Pain

Target Audience

  • Psychologists
  • Physicians
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Other Behavioral Health Professionals

Copyright : 03/23/2018