Online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain and Mental Illness (iCBT)

Chronic pain is extremely debilitating, both physically and mentally. When physical pain is a problem in your life, more often than not, you begin to develop stress about the situation, leading to more pain and a severe impact on your mental well-being – it is a vicious cycle. People in these situations often turn to substances or distractions to cope with the present situation. There is a dire need for an easily accessible program that provides mental health support to chronic pain sufferers all over the world.

The Wilderman Medical Clinic Internet Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (iCBT) program consists of 8 modules of online cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness. This program targets individuals of all ages suffering from chronic pain and co-morbid anxiety and/or depression. Anyone suffering from a chronic debilitation (such as stress or injury) will be able to benefit.

Each of the 8 modules follows a sequential order that builds upon concepts in previous modules. They consist of information to read and comprehend at your own pace, interactive activities, and end-of-module homework.

Various research studies have shown the efficacy of iCBT. A review on various iCBT programs revealed that in 7 trials, between 43% and 86% of chronic pain patients had significant decreases in pain intensity1. Results of this review demonstrated that online CBT is effective for individuals with fibromyalgia, back and neck pain, and mixed etiology chronic pain1. A study conducted on a physician-directed 5-module iCBT program for pain showed positive results. The treatment group achieved significantly greater improvements than controls in levels of anxiety, depression, and average pain levels after completion of the program2.

Written By: Rachel Berkovich, HBSc
References:
1. Knoerl, R., Lavoie Smith, E., & Weisberg, J. (2016). Chronic Pain and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: An Integrative Review. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 38(5), 596-628. doi:10.1177/0193945915615869

2. Dear, B. F., Titov, N., Perry, K. N., Johnston, L., Wootton, B. M., Terides, M. D., . . . Hudson, J. L. (2013). The Pain Course: A randomised controlled trial of a clinician-guided Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy program for managing chronic pain and emotional well-being. Pain, 154(6), 942-950. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2013.03.005

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