Theoretical grounds of Pain Tracker Self Manager: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy digital intervention for patients with chronic pain

Roger Vilardaga*, Pamela Stitzlein Davies, Kevin E. Vowles, Mark D. Sullivan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective
To report the theoretical basis and design of a novel digital Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) intervention for people with chronic pain, the Pain Tracker Self Manager (PTSM), which had promising efficacy in a recent pilot trial.

Methods
Content development by a multidisciplinary panel of experts in psychiatry, clinical psychology, nursing and social work, with feedback from a group of patients with chronic pain and their providers. Materials included paper-based sketching of a story character, visual metaphors, and a series of stories designed to deliver the theory-based components of our behavioral intervention.

Results
This development and design process resulted in 4 digitally delivered clinical modules that combine visual and verbal cues. In addition, it generated a series of novel ACT metaphors specifically tailored to patients with chronic pain: Pain: Injury vs. Threat, Life Navigation System, The Fog of Pain, and Get Rhythm. Consistent with ACT theory and the contextual behavioral science framework, PTSM utilized: perspective-taking, values clarification, acceptance strategies, and nursing and psychological care recommendations.

Discussion
Reports of the design and theoretical basis of digital health interventions are highly needed to increase the rigor of their development process and more progressively advance our body of knowledge. This pilot study developed and tested a series of ACT metaphors that can be readily used by ACT clinicians working with this population.

Conclusion
PTSM is a novel digital ACT intervention for patients with chronic pain with features directly linked to ACT processes and theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-180
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Contextual Behavioral Science
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 03 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Chronic pain
  • Digital health
  • Health coaching
  • Pain psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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