Treating pain in primary care: Optimizing an integrated psychological intervention based on perspectives of psychologists, primary care providers, and patients.

Research paper by Lisa R LR Miller-Matero, Kate E KE Dykhuis, Shannon M SM Clark, Joseph P JP Coleman, Brian K BK Ahmedani

Indexed on: 09 Oct '19Published on: 07 May '19Published in: Families, systems & health : the journal of collaborative family healthcare


Although behavioral health treatment can improve distress and pain functioning for patients with chronic pain, few who are referred by their primary care physician will see a behavioral health specialist. Given the benefits of integrating behavioral health into primary care, this may be an avenue for delivering a psychological intervention for chronic pain. The purpose of this study was to optimize a psychological intervention for patients with chronic pain to be delivered in primary care, utilizing the perspectives of providers and patients. Psychologists (n = 9), primary care providers (n = 9), and patients with chronic pain (n = 9) participated in separate focus groups. Participants reviewed the proposed 4-session intervention, provided feedback prompted by a set of open-ended questions, and completed a survey. Statements from focus groups were transcribed and coded into 2 thematic categories: (a) content of the intervention and (b) logistics and design. Participants believed that offering a brief, behavioral intervention for chronic pain in a primary care clinic was feasible and useful. All providers (100%) agreed or strongly agreed that they would refer a patient to this intervention, and 100% of patients agreed or strongly agreed that they would participate. Feedback solicited from the focus groups led to alterations to the treatment manual, such as adding a fifth session, using different psychological strategies, and logistical changes in delivery (i.e., meeting biweekly and intervisit contacts). The modified version of this intervention will be evaluated with a pilot randomized controlled clinical trial. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).