Understanding and Treating Chronic Pain in Military Personnel

This intensive two-day module provides training in the assessment, management and cognitive-behavioral treatment of chronic pain. The module lays the foundation for working with military connected individuals suffering from chronic pain by reviewing the rates and mechanisms of chronic pain in civilian and military populations, including the role of military culture. Furthermore, theories of chronic pain will be introduced with a focus on biological, psychological and social factors impacting chronic pain. Participants will develop case conceptualization skills grounded by the clinical interview and empirically based assessment tools. Participants will learn and have the opportunity to practice key intervention strategies. In addition to learning CBT skills/techniques for working with chronic pain patients, participants will explore the role of motivational interviewing practices in CBT for chronic pain.

The workshop also discusses common challenges to psychological service for pain management and ways to overcome those barriers. The module is designed for behavioral health providers working with Service members, Veterans and their families who are seeking in-depth training in empirically supported treatment options they can immediately incorporate into their clinical practice. Participants are expected to actively engage in class activities and attend both days.

Learning Objectives: 

Attendees will be able to:

  • Specify prevalence rates of chronic pain in military and civilian populations.
  • Formulate treatment considerations specific to a military population when utilizing CBT-CP.
  • Integrate common co-morbid mental health conditions into treatment planning for military-connected patients.
  • Evaluate the contribution of opioid medication to a patient’s experience of chronic pain.
  • Apply the biopsychosocial model to the process of clinical case conceptualization.
  • Perform differential diagnosis using DSM-5 diagnoses relevant to the chronic pain population.
  • Demonstrate a psychological chronic pain-focused clinical interview including biological, physical, and social domains.
  • Score and interpret relevant, subjective assessment measures for pain.
  • Develop treatment goals for pain management using the SMART model.
  • Apply targeted relaxation practice as pain coping strategy.
  • Develop behavioral interventions to target under- and/or over-activity patterns that exacerbate chronic pain.
  • Modify pleasurable activities given realistic pain limitations to increase behavioral activation.
  • Apply cognitive strategies to modify unhelpful pain-related cognitions.
  • Design a plan to address common challenges in implementing CBT-CP with patients.