Seminar Detail

The Chronic Pain Tool Box: Effective Interventions for Treating Complex Chronic Pain

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

This event is not currently available for purchase.

For more information: Call (800) 844-8260
Course Description:

Years ago, I sat down to evaluate a potential client with chronic pain. A minute hadn’t passed before she broke down in tears while describing a 5-year-old injury that left her with excruciating neck pain. Despite 3 back surgeries and countless procedures, her back was still “killing” her and she placed her pain at 15/10. She couldn’t sleep, she had gained weight and couldn’t exercise. She had stopped working, was in a lawsuit over the injury, and was afraid to leave the house. Her doctor had placed her on high doses of an opiate pain killer plus an anti-anxiety medication and she admitted that sometimes she took more than she was prescribed. She admitted to having suicidal thoughts because she had lost hope that she might ever get her life back.

Now imagine yourself in my place. How would you conduct an effective assessment? Do you know the difference between chronic pain and a chronic pain syndrome? What might be the best approach to treat pain and a co-occurring disorder? Are you confident you have enough evidence-based skills in your toolbox to help clients help themselves?

This is a challenging time to treat complex chronic pain. Over 100 million Americans experience some form of chronic pain and the country is struggling with a tragic opiate epidemic that has cost tens of thousands of lives and is ripping society apart. As a clinician, you are in a unique position to provide effective pain management to your chronic pain clients … but only if you fill your invisible toolbox with the evidence-based skills that work.

In this interactive and creative seminar, we will focus on the assessment and treatment of complex chronic pain. You will learn how to evaluate it and how to discern and manage co-occurring disorders. You will increase your confidence in your ability to transform your knowledge of CBT, mindfulness, and ACT into the “silver bullet” skills that can facilitate “inside-out” pain management that empowers your clients. You will leave this seminar with 8 practical interventions you can begin to use tomorrow to motivate your clients to commit to the changes they want and to assist their families in finding the resources they need.
  1. Specify the difference between chronic pain and a complex chronic pain syndrome and how conventional treatments (including MAT, procedures, and surgery) often “make it worse.”
  2. Delineate the difference between physical pain and emotional suffering and how the 5 Big Negative Emotions magnify the pain experience as it relates to clinical practice.
  3. Establish the ability to conduct an effective biopsychosocial assessment of chronic pain and use pain scales to recalibrate pain levels and increase wellness in a clinical setting.
  4. Utilize cognitive restructuring to assist clients in creating “black duck moments” in session that will change their perspective on their pain experiences and motivate them to live more active and purposeful lives.
  5. Practice 3 ACT interventions to defuse the impact of chronic pain and increase client commitment to positive behavioral change for symptom management.
  6. Implement 4 mindfulness-based interventions to empower clients to manage their pain by going FAR.
  7. Integrate the power of gratitude into your practice to decrease pain and increase wellness to improve treatment outcomes.
  8. Develop the competency to guide a multidisciplinary approach to pain management that connects pain clients and families to resources beyond therapy to improve client level of functioning.

The Chronic Pain Dilemma
  • Pain and its impact on society
    • Neurophysiology and psychology of pain
    • Benefits and the risks of opioids
    • Pain and the family
  • Complex Chronic Pain
    • The progression from acute to chronic pain (physical and emotional factors)
    • Chronic pain syndrome and its constellation of symptoms
    • Conventional treatments and why they fail
  • Pain vs suffering: What are we really treating?
    • The 5 big “negative” emotions that magnify pain
    • The number one rule in pain management
    • Strategies to un-attach pain from suffering
  • The Interview
    • Validation and the therapeutic alliance
    • Collect a biopsychosocial history
    • Co-occurring disorders and other risk factors
  • The Battery
    • Useful self-report measures
    • Interpretation of results for case conceptualization
    • Effective treatment planning
The Chronic Pain Toolbox
  • Best Practice Guidelines and treatment options
    • APA Division 12 recommendations
    • CDC and government recommendations
    • Empathy and the power of therapeutic alliance
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
    • Unleash “black ducks” to eat up ANTS
    • Harness the power of client’s own words
    • Recalibrate Pain: a cognitive approach
  • Mindfulness
    • Why mindfulness is essential for the treatment of chronic pain
    • 4 creative interventions to help clients see “What is NOT wrong with me”
    • The FAR approach and how it resonates with clients
    • Limitations of the psychotherapeutic approach
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
    • Cognitive defusing and how to use it with clients
    • The Values Compass and how to help clients find their True North
    • Develop motivation and commitment
    • Limitations of the psychotherapeutic approach
  • Gratefulness
    • The hidden power of gratefulness and its evidence for chronic pain
    • 3 gratitude interventions that directly impact the pain experience
  • More tools You Can Use
    • Include the family in treatment
    • Effective sleep hygiene
    • Multidisciplinary treatments: when and how to use them
    • The T.E.M.P.L.E.S.S. hand-out you can share with clients
    • Patient advocate resources
    • Recovery resources
Target Audience

  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Counselors
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Psychotherapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Case Managers
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Physical Therapist Assistants
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Other Helping Professionals


Bruce F. Singer, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist and nationally recognized expert on psychosocial treatments for chronic pain and substance use disorders. He was the founding director of the Chronic Pain and Recovery Center at Silver Hill Hospital, one of the most prestigious psychiatric hospitals in the United States. He maintains a private practice and consults internationally with treatment centers.

Dr. Singer sits on the Medical Advisory Board of the U.S. Pain Foundation and on the Board of Chronic Pain Anonymous where he is an outspoken advocate for helping individuals with chronic pain obtain effective treatment. An inspirational speaker known for his creativity and sense of humor, Dr. Singer has presented at Grand Rounds and pain and addiction conferences throughout the United States. He is the author of numerous professional articles on psychosocial treatments for chronic pain and substance abuse, and his guided meditations and educational videos are readily available on the web. He recently authored Black Duck Moments Every Day, a book of daily affirmations for people with chronic conditions as well as 99 Black Duck Moments, an eBook based on his original memes and videos.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Bruce Singer is in private practice. He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial: Bruce Singer is a member of the Medical Advisory Board for the U.S. Pain Foundation.
Credits listed below are for full attendance at the live event only. After attendance has been verified, pre-registered attendees will receive an email from PESI Customer Service with the subject line, “Evaluation and Certificate” within one week. This email will contain a link to complete the seminar evaluation and allow attendees to print, email or download a certificate of completion if in full attendance. For those in partial attendance (arrived late or left early), a letter of attendance is available through that link and an adjusted certificate of completion reflecting partial credit will be issued within 30 days (if your board allows). Please see “live seminar schedule” for full attendance start and end times. NOTE: Boards do not allow credit for breaks or lunch.

If your profession is not listed, please contact your licensing board to determine your continuing education requirements and check for reciprocal approval. For other credit inquiries not specified below, or questions on home study credit availability, please contact or 800-844-8260 before the event.

Materials that are included in this course may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of mental health professionals. As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that are defined in law as beyond the boundaries of practice in accordance with and in compliance with your professions standards.

The planning committee and staff who controlled the content of this activity have no relevant financial relationships to disclose. For speaker disclosures, please see speaker bios.

PESI, Inc. offers continuing education programs and products under the brand names PESI, PESI Healthcare, PESI Rehab and Psychotherapy Networker.

Addiction Counselors
This course has been approved by PESI, Inc., as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for 6.0 CE in the Counseling Services skill group. NAADAC Provider #77553. PESI, Inc. is responsible for all aspects of their programming. Full attendance is required; no partial credit will be awarded for partial attendance.

This intermediate activity consists of 6.25 clock hours of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. Please save the course outline, the certificate of completion you receive from the activity and contact your state board or organization to determine specific filing requirements.

Massachusetts Counselors: CE credit is available. This program has been approved for 6.25 Category 1 MaMHCA/MMCEP hours for re-licensure, in accordance with 262 CMR. Expires: 12/10/2019. Full attendance is required; no partial credits will be offered for partial attendance.

Marriage & Family Therapists
This activity consists of 380 minutes of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. You should save this course outline, the certificate of completion you receive from the activity and contact your state board or organization to determine specific filing requirements.

Massachusetts Marriage & Family Therapists: This activity has been certified by NEAFAST on behalf of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health & Human Services Professions, for LMFT professional continuing education. Full attendance at this activity qualifies for 6.0 contact hours. Certification #: PC-PC- 034339.

Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Clinical Nurse Specialists
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PESI, Inc. is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Nurses in full attendance will earn 6.3 contact hours. Partial contact hours will be awarded for partial attendance.

Occupational Therapists & Occupational Therapy Assistants
PESI, Inc. is an AOTA Approved Provider of continuing education. Provider #: 3322. Full attendance at this course qualifies for 6.0 contact hours or .6 CEUs in the Category of Domain of OT and Occupational Therapy Process. Partial credit will be issued for partial attendance. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA. Course Level: Intermediate.

Physical Therapists & Physical Therapist Assistants
This activity consists of 6.25 clock hours of instruction that is applicable for physical therapists. CE requirements for physical therapists vary per state/jurisdiction. Please retain the certificate of completion that you receive and use as proof of completion when required.

Social Workers
PESI, Inc., #1062, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. PESI, Inc. maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: January 27, 2017 - January 27, 2020. Social Workers completing this course receive 6.25 Clinical Practice continuing education credits. Course Level: Intermediate. Full attendance is required; no partial credits will be offered for partial attendance. A certificate of attendance will be awarded at the end of the program to social workers who complete the program evaluation.

Other Professions
This activity qualifies for 380 minutes of instructional content as required by many national, state and local licensing boards and professional organizations. Save your course outline and certificate of completion, and contact your own board or organization for specific requirements.

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