Understanding and treating chronic pain as trauma, with EMDR


It is generally accepted that pain, particularly chronic pain, involves psychological factors, whether as a reaction to pain (Fordyce 1975; Turk & Meichenbaum, 1989) or as a predisposing factor for pain (Engel, 1959, Goodwin & Attias, 1999). Different theoretical approaches emphasize the role of psychological factors differently. For example, Cognitive- behavioral approaches emphasize people’s reactions [to injury and pain] as a factor in causing and maintaining pain. One of the main theoretical constructs of CBT is secondary gain which is based on operant conditioning and posits that pain can be maintained by ‘rewards’ such as too much attention or sympathy. Psychodynamic approaches place more emphasis on pre-existing trauma and emotional states as a causal factor for chronic pain (Engel, 1959, Goodwin & Attias, 1999). One of the main psychodynamic theories of pain is .. which posits that pain is .. There is evidence to suggest that there is some truth to both approaches. However, the research regarding behavioral theories of chronic pain has often produced mixed results (..) and been found to have many problems (King..). However, there is reliable data to suggest that trauma and emotional processes associated with trauma are often associated with chronic pain.






Mark Grant

Original Work Citation



“Understanding and treating chronic pain as trauma, with EMDR,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 29, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/19144.

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