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Pain Psychology: A Global Needs Assessment and National Call to Action.

Darnall BD, Scheman J, Davin S, Burns JW, Murphy JL, Wilson AC, Kerns RD, Mackey SC. Pain Psychology: A Global Needs Assessment and National Call to Action. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 2016 Feb 1; 17(2):250-63.

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Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: The Institute of Medicine and the draft National Pain Strategy recently called for better training for health care clinicians. This was the first high-level needs assessment for pain psychology services and resources in the United States. DESIGN: Prospective, observational, cross-sectional. METHODS: Brief surveys were administered online to six stakeholder groups (psychologists/therapists, individuals with chronic pain, pain physicians, primary care physicians/physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and the directors of graduate and postgraduate psychology training programs). RESULTS: 1,991 responses were received. Results revealed low confidence and low perceived competency to address physical pain among psychologists/therapists, and high levels of interest and need for pain education. We found broad support for pain psychology across stakeholder groups, and global support for a national initiative to increase pain training and competency in U.S. therapists. Among directors of graduate and postgraduate psychology training programs, we found unanimous interest for a no-cost pain psychology curriculum that could be integrated into existing programs. Primary barriers to pain psychology include lack of a system to identify qualified therapists, paucity of therapists with pain training, limited awareness of the psychological treatment modality, and poor insurance coverage. CONCLUSIONS: This report calls for transformation within psychology predoctoral and postdoctoral education and training and psychology continuing education to include and emphasize pain and pain management. A system for certification is needed to facilitate quality control and appropriate reimbursement. There is a need for systems to facilitate identification and access to practicing psychologists and therapists skilled in the treatment of pain.





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