The effects and mechanisms of hypnosis, cognitive therapy, and mindfulness for reducing pain and improving psychological function in individuals with chronic pain
Prof. Mark P. Jensen
Professor and Vice Chair for Research
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
University of Washington, US
This talk will present the findings from two recently completed randomized clinical trials examining different psychological treatments for chronic pain. The talk will begin by noting the important roles that chronic pain plays in the development of clinical depression and anxiety, as well as the role that depression and anxiety can play in the development of chronic pain, suggesting that effective treatment of one may have a positive impact on the other. Next the methods and findings from the two clinical trials will be described. The first trial examined the effects and mechanisms of individual treatment with cognitive therapy, self-hypnosis training focusing on pain reduction, self-hypnosis training focusing on changing maladaptive thoughts about pain (hypnotic cognitive therapy), and a pain education control condition, in 173 individuals with chronic pain. The second study examined the effects and mechanisms of group therapy treatment with training in mindfulness meditation, training in self-hypnosis training, and a pain education control condition in 308 individuals with chronic pain. In both studies, outcome variables included measures of pain intensity and depression; anxiety was also assessed as an outcome variable in the second study. Potential treatment mediators (e.g., pre- and post-treatment measures of pain-related beliefs, pain-related cognitive processes, and EEG-assessed brain activity) and moderators (e.g., pre-treatment measures of pain-related beliefs, pain-related cognitive processes, and brain activity) were also assessed in both studies. Analyses were conducted to evaluate the relative efficacy of the treatments for reducing pain and improving psychological function, as well as to identify the factors that would help us understand how the treatments work (treatment mediators) and for whom they work (treatment moderators). The talk will end by discussing the implications of the findings for enhancing treatment efficacy; specially, by targeting the most important treatment mediators and by improving patient-treatment matching.
Mark P. Jensen, PhD, is a professor and is the Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington. Prof. Jensen received his PhD from Arizona State University, and his postdoctoral training at the Multidisciplinary Pain Center, University of Washington Medical Center. His research program focuses on understanding the effects and mechanisms of psychological pain interventions. He has published over 700 articles and chapters, and has authored or edited 11 books. Prof. Jensen is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and has received numerous awards for his scientific contributions, including the Clark L. Hull Award for Scientific Excellence in Writing on Experimental Hypnosis and the American Psychological Association Division 30 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Professional Hypnosis. He was also the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Pain for over 12 years, from 2010 to June of 2022.