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Psychological services

Because chronic pain often has serious consequences for a person’s quality of life, (which in turn have impact on pain and suffering), psychological assessment and treatment is an integral part of medical treatments in a multidisciplinary pain facility. The psychological services offered at the Pain Centre are limited to pain-related problems: we cannot treat complex psychological or social problems unrelated to pain, nor do our resources permit us to provide more than a few follow-up sessions in most cases.

Psychological services include:

  • Psychological and pain assessments
  • Psychological interventions
    1. Follow-up (1-5 appointments)
    2. Short-term Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, offered when short-term therapy can help with a defined problem related to pain and quality of life. These sessions are usually conducted by psychology interns, under supervision of staff psychologists. Patients with insurance are expected to pay for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (but not for psychological assessment) since our psychological services are funded primarily by private donors.

Psychological Services NOT offered at the Pain Centre:

  • Long-term psychotherapy
  • Crisis intervention unrelated to current pain treatment
  • Treatment for serious psychological disturbance
  • Psychological/psychiatric disturbance unrelated to pain
  • Family or social problems not directly related to pain

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Pain Management Group

The programme consists of 10 weekly sessions of three hours each. These consist of two hours of pain management psychotherapy with a pain psychologist and some sessions with a nurse who provides information on medications and nutrition. There is an additional hour of gentle exercise and body movement education with a physiotherapist. One follow-up meeting is scheduled four to eight weeks after the 10th session. Groups are available in French and in English. As the cost of the group programme is not supported by the hospital, a fee is charged, most of which insurers will cover. For patients without insurance there is a generous sliding scale; no patient is excluded for inability to pay.

Objectives of the Pain Management Group:

  • To learn about chronic pain and understand the complexities of its treatment;
  • To learn effective management skills for dealing with pain and distress;
  • To regain a sense of control, self-esteem, and purpose;
  • To identify options for enhancing quality of life;
  • To recognizing and accept the active role a patient must play in improving his/her quality of life;
  • To increase daily activity without increasing pain;
  • To improve communication with family, friends and health professionals;
  • To learning relaxation and visualization techniques.

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