Addressing Chronic Pain and Trauma with Mindfulness-integrated Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Recent research shows multidisciplinary evidence that chronic pain is learned through emotional processes in 80% of cases and is more likely to occur in people with a history of trauma and mental health conditions. Mindfulness-integrated Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (MiCBT) is an evidence-based transdiagnostic approach combining essential CBT methods with mindfulness training, taught in the Burmese Vipassana tradition of Ledi Sayadaw, U Ba Khin and S.N.Goenka. This workshop will describe the neuro-phenomenological mechanisms underlying the use and efficacy of MiCBT for trauma and persistent pain. It will demonstrate novel exposure methods to decrease avoidance and reduce anxiety. 

In particular, you will be introduced to the Mindfulness-based Interoceptive Exposure Task, which creates immediate relief from both emotional and physical pain. These methods will be shown through real case video demonstrations of distress reduction in clients with chronic pain and depression. The workshop will deepen our common understanding of operant conditioning and exposure principles through the co-emergence model of reinforcement. You will also learn how to case-conceptualise clients’ avoidance and other aversive reactions to pain and traumatic symptoms to increase treatment efficacy.

Although this workshop is clinically oriented, it will also benefit anyone interested in a new understanding of the mechanisms of reinforcement. 

Learning Objectives

You will learn:

  • mindfulness principles 
  • the role of memory and emotion in pain chronification 
  • a neurophenomenological approach to operant conditioning and reinforcement principles 
  • the nature of mindfulness-based exposure 
  • the use of the mindfulness-based interoceptive exposure task as a pain- and distress-reduction method 
  • the use of the co-emergence model of reinforcement to improve case-conceptualisation of pain- and trauma-related behaviour 


Participants must be qualified mental health professionals or health professionals with an interest in pain or trauma. The workshop is also appropriate for postgraduate students with an existing understanding of reinforcement principles and researchers in the field of cognitive and behavioural psychology. Participants who have a working knowledge of CBT and some understanding of mindfulness will maximise the likelihood of achieving the training objectives. Having taught and personally practised mindfulness meditation is an advantage, but not a requirement. 

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