Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Implementation of an online cognitive behavioural therapy intervention for chronic pain

To what extent is “Grip op Pijn” effective and feasible in clinical practice

Andrea Evers
Innovatiefonds Zorgverzekeraars Innovatiefonds Zorgverzekeraars

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Radboud UMC

Medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS; symptoms for which no or no sufficient somatic cause can be found) are highly prevalent and cause a major burden on health care. In a collaboration project (the GRIP-project), a web-based personalized patient system is developed to enhance diagnosis and referral of MUPS by the general practitioner, and to tailor treatment of symptoms in a stepped-care manner. A specific treatment module in this program is online cognitive behavioral therapy (eCBT) for patients with chronic pain, called “Grip op Pijn”.

Chronic pain can often not be sufficiently reduced by medical treatment, while it can affect patients’ mood, behavior and social life significantly. Recent trials have shown that eCBT enhances coping with pain and improves physical and emotional functioning. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect and feasibility of eCBT for chronic pain in clinical practice.

When appropriate according to the screening results of the GRIP-system, patients are assigned to eCBT for chronic pain and start their treatment at the nearest participating mental health care institution. A therapist tailors assignments to patients’ personal goals and provides support and feedback via online messages. Pre-, post-, and follow-up assessments are performed to study the effect on pain, pain interference, coping, and quality of life. Feasibility is investigated assessing acceptance, adherence, and satisfaction among patients, therapists, and institutions, using questionnaires and qualitative interviews. This study will designate whether effects of eCBT for chronic pain are maintained in clinical practice and what essential aspects for proper implementation are, including chances and pitfalls. 

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