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Psychological approaches for the nursing management of chronic pain: part 2


  • Clifford Richardson MSc, PhD, RGN,

  • Nicola Adams BSc, MCSP, PhD,

  • Helen Poole BSc, PhD

Nicola Adams
Reader in Health and Social Care
Head of the Centre for Research in Health Care
Faculty of Health and Applied Social Sciences
Liverpool John Moores University
70 Great Crosshall Street
Liverpool L3 2AB
Telephone: 0151 231 4056


Aims and objectives.  The aim of this article was to present the ways that nurses can integrate psychological approaches into their management of chronic pain conditions using a biopsychosocial framework. Communication, the importance of the patient–practitioner interaction, the role of education and provision of information, reassurance and reduction of anxiety and the use of coping strategies training in the management of chronic pain are reviewed alongside the key skills of nursing.

Background.  This is the second part of a two-part article. Part 1 was a discussion of psychosocial factors associated with chronic pain conditions and the psychological approaches used in the management of these conditions.

Conclusions.  It is identified that key nursing skills often equate to the requirements of the psychological approaches, therefore specific techniques from a cognitive-behavioural framework can be readily applied, integrated and used by nurses in the management of chronic pain conditions.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Commonly utilized nursing skills are similar to those required for cognitive-behavioural therapy. It is reasonable to assume therefore that nurses can and should be involved in effectively managing the psychological aspects associated with chronic pain conditions.