Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Pain Management

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Pain Management
Ramon Eduardo Gustilo Villasor, Sr., Ph.D., RPsy, R.G.C., CSCOP

What is cognitive therapy?

  • Noted for its’ “concentration on a client’s beliefs, attitudes, and cognitions,” (McMullin, 2000)
  • Cognitive therapy is defined as “an active, directive, time-limited, structured approach” which is used to remedy a “variety of psychiatric disorders” such as “depression, anxiety, phobias,” etc.
  • It is based on “an underlying theoretical rationale (wherein) an individual’s affect and behavior are largely determined” by the way he or she sees “the world.” (Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979)
  • Beck (1993) described the automatic thought process composed of an individual’s verbal or visual events as “cognitions.”
  • These cognitions are brought about by their “schemas” which is defined as “the basic beliefs and understanding that individuals have and use to organize their view of self and their environment” (Ducharme, 2004).

Faulty Thinking Patterns (Adapted from Hill, 2001)

  1. All-or-nothing thinking – A “black or white” approach to a situation/condition.
  2. Overgeneralization – The overuse of words like “always” or “never” to define one’s situation/condition.
  3. Jumping to conclusions – A personal interpretation of a situation/condition without data to support that conclusion.
  4. Emotional reasoning – Assuming the way you feel is how things really are.


  • Cognitive-Behavioral therapy doesn’t happen overnight.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral therapy isn’t for everyone.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral therapy is but one of many interventions that a patient can try (Keep an open mind!)
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