Psychotherapy Methods Used for Pain Management

old man being treated in a hospice

Few things would cause as much distress to you and your loved ones like chronic pain. Unfortunately, this is the primary element that patients have to contend with in the last stages of a terminal condition. In the past, people opted to keep patients at home when doctors decided there was no conventional medicine to treat a disease. This, for families, meant doing anything in their powers to minimize pain, but these were generally inefficient and only brought more misery.

Thankfully, the care of patients with a terminal condition has been taken over by hospice care facilities. When most people hear of hospice, however, they assume this means pumping all manner of pain-relieving drugs into patients’ bodies and consequently turning them into zombies. The medicines that patients receive in hospice are, however, all geared to address a specific symptom and make a patient as comfortable as possible. Moreover, hospice care specialists are always looking for ways to minimize the pill and injectable burden of their clients. To this end, psychological interventions have also been introduced in hospice care for pain management. The following are the psychotherapy techniques used for pain management in end-of-life care.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

This is the leading psychological intervention used for chronic pain. It focuses on the use of coping skills, including distraction, problem-solving, and relaxation for the management of pain and the enhancement of socialization. By grasping this alternative drug-free technique of dealing with different levels of pain, a patient can decrease their dependence on pain-relieving medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also used in hospice to manage depression and anxiety.


Stress is also associated with some level of physical pain. Psychological counseling offered by an expert will prove essential in helping you cope with the stress of dealing with a terminal condition and the numerous decisions that come with your condition. This way, you can reduce the level of your pain and better cope with stressful situations since you will be in a clear frame of mind.

doctor talking to a patient


This psychotherapy approach aims to teach patients how to live in the moment and deliberately pay attention to the activities around them rather than their past and future. Recognizing a patient’s thoughts, emotions, and mood will play a significant role in their emotional wellbeing and pain sensation. This is because in some cases, the perception of pain is linked to a past episode of pain from owing to the same condition.

Biofeedback Therapy

This denotes a process through which patients will gain an understanding of their pain triggers and control the body processes that lead to the same. Body tension is the primary contributor to pain in most patients. Biofeedback therapy includes the learning and performance of exercises that will lessen your tension and thus influence the autonomic nervous systems to reduce and at times, negate the pain.

For those apprehensive about pain medications, you now realize these are not the only option in hospice to guarantee a patient is pain free. The above psychotherapy techniques will boost a patient’s comfort and overall life quality. Moreover, with your loved one now pain-free, you can also be relaxed to enjoy the time you have with them.

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