Psychologically-informed practice for treating people with pain

Dates: 2 - 3 February 2019
Speakers: Lisa Roberts, Tamar Pincus, Steven Vogel
Cost: £109 - £250


About the course

This two-day course aims to introduce into practice evidence-based techniques and skills that can improve quality of life for people with pain. It is relevant to a wide range of practitioners who encounter people with pain including chiropractors, nurses, osteopaths and physiotherapists.

The course will help practitioners to enhance building rapport and the therapeutic alliance with their patients as well as equip them with practical skills to use in practice.

Recent clinical guidance and research has emphasised the need for practitioners to apply a biopsychosocial model of care. Whilst many practitioners are comfortable with the bio aspect of the model, integrating psychological and related communication skills into practice is more challenging. This course will provide introductory skills and an awareness of potential psychological tools to enable practitioners to be more confident in delivering an integrated biopsychosocial model of care to their patients.

The course comprises a series of mini-lectures and practical sessions. Core skills related to effective communication will be the focus of the first day and behavioural change principles and practice the focus of the second day.

There will be opportunities to experiment with using new skills in experiential sessions as well as opportunities to discuss challenging cases in a supportive environment.

Practical sessions will be balanced with theory and reviews of relevant evidence.

Listen to course leader Steven Vogel talk about the course content and benefits for attendees.

(If player is not showing use this link to watch the video)

The course is delivered by a multidisciplinary team of UK leaders in the field with professional backgrounds in physiotherapy, osteopathy and psychology, and is suitable for a wide range of practitioners who encounter people with pain, including nurses, osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists. 


What will be covered?

  • Enhancing the opening of a consultation
  • Communication and listening skills
  • Person centred communication and responding to patient cues
  • Effective reassurance
  • Metaphors, grids and other ways of introducing psychology to patients
  • Addressing distress, frustration and anger
  • Fear and avoidance
  • Behaviourally informed interventions
  • Beliefs and values - patients and practitioners
  • Behavioural change approaches


What will you gain?

  • Familiarity with the evidence on psychological complexity in people with persistent pain conditions.
  • New skills in recognising and eliciting patient concerns
  • Awareness of an array of psychological interventions that can be used to help patients better manage their pain.


About the speakers

Lisa Roberts PhD PFHEA FCSP is a Professor at the University of Southampton and consultant physiotherapist at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.  She currently holds a National Institute for Health Research senior clinical lectureship, focussing on researching the communication and decision-making that occurs during consultations between physiotherapists and people with back pain, building on her earlier fellowship funded by Arthritis Research UK. 

Other current research interests include developing web-based resources for people with back pain; non-specific treatment effects in complementary therapy; families’ experiences of surgery for children with developmental dysplasia of the hip; and rehabilitation through ballroom and Latin American dancing.

Alongside her clinics in the NHS, Lisa leads the clinical effectiveness agenda for 8 professions and has a strategy role within the Trust.  She led the team to implement a hugely popular self-referral scheme, enabling Trust staff to access musculoskeletal physiotherapy services. 

Lisa was awarded a Fellowship by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in 2013 for her work as a leader, clinician, researcher and educator.  She is the immediate past President of the Society for Back Pain Research and in 2016 became a principal fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Professor Tamar Pincus holds a PhD in psychology (University College London), as well as Masters degrees in experimental research methods in psychology (UCL), and epidemiology (Cambridge University). She is a registered practicing practitioner with the Health Professional Council. Her research has embraced a variety of methodologies, including experimental, epidemiological and qualitative. The research has included investigation of attention and recall in pain patients; the psychological predictors for poor outcome in low back pain, and the study of clinicians’ beliefs and attitudes in low back pain.

Tamar’s research has included the investigation of interventions through randomised controlled trials, and throughout she has collaborated closely with researchers from many disciplines, including doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and clinical psychologists, from a multitude of institutions, in the UK and internationally. She also convened the international consensus group to establish what factors and measures should be included in prospective cohorts investigation the transition from early to persistent back pain. Most recently her research has focused on delivering effective reassurance to patients in primary care and studying the use of technology to deliver rehabilitation. Her practical work has focused on training practitioners in effective communication skills and fostering awareness of patients’ psychological needs and concerns.

Steven Vogel is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University College of Osteopathy in London. Although most of his working time is spent on research and education, he held a clinical post as an osteopath in an NHS primary care setting for over 20 years and more recently maintains a small private practice. His main research interests focus on back pain, clinicians’ beliefs and attitudes and more recently, reassurance, communication and consent, safety and manual therapy. He has experience of qualitative, quantitative and mixed research methods.

Steven’s work research on adverse events and consent has led to the delivery of a wide range of CPD to manual therapists on communication skills, working in partnership with patients to gain consent and managing risk. He provides one to one learning opportunities to osteopaths addressing concerns about fitness to practice and professional conduct.  

Steven was a member of the development groups for the NICE clinical guidelines for persistent non-specific low back pain the current low back pain and sciatica clinical guideline. He is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. 

Selected published works

Lisa Roberts:

  • Allen, M. V., & Roberts, L. C. (2017). Perceived acquisition, development and delivery of empathy in musculoskeletal physiotherapy encounters. Journal of Communication in Healthcare, 10(4), 304-312. doi:10.1080/17538068.2017.1366000
  • Roberts, L. C., & Burrow, F. A. (2018). Interruption and rapport disruption: Measuring the prevalence and nature of verbal interruptions during back pain consultations. Journal of Communication in Healthcare, 11(2), 95-105. doi:10.1080/17538068.2018.1449289
  • Ryan, C., & Roberts, L. (2019). ‘Life on hold’: The lived experience of radicular symptoms. A qualitative, interpretative inquiry. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, 39, 51-57. doi:10.1016/j.msksp.2018.11.005
  • Ryan, C., & Roberts, L. C. (2018). Investigations for radiculopathy: The patient perspective. A qualitative, interpretative inquiry. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, 33, 71-76. doi:10.1016/j.msksp.2017.11.005
  • Geraghty, A. W. A., Stanford, R., Stuart, B., Little, P., Roberts, L. C., Foster, N. E., . . . Yardley, L. (2018). Using an internet intervention to support self-management of low back pain in primary care: Findings from a randomised controlled feasibility trial (SupportBack). BMJ Open, 8(3) doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016768
  • Langridge, Neil, Roberts, Lisa and Pope, Catherine (2015). The role of clinician emotion in clinical reasoning: balancing the analytical process. Manual Therapy;p. 1-5. Doi:10.1016/j.math.2015.06.007. PMID:26144683
  • Chester, Emily, Robinson, Natalie and Roberts, Lisa (2014). Opening clinical encounters in an adult musculoskeletal setting. Manual Therapy, Volume:19, (4), p.306-310. Doi:10.1016/j.math.2014.03.011. PMID:24809241
  • Jones, Lucy, Roberts, L., Little, Paul, Mullee, M., Cleland, J.A. and Cooper, C (2014). Shared decision-making in back pain consultations: An illusion or reality? European Spine Journal;p.1-17.
  • Roberts, Lisa, Whittle, Christopher, Cleland, Jennifer and Wald, Mike (2013). Measuring communication in physical therapy consultations: a novel approach. Physical Therapy, Volume:93, (4).

Tamar Pincus:

  • Ben-Ami, N., Chodick, G., Mirovsky, Y., Pincus, T., & Shapiro, Y. (2017). Increasing recreational physical activity in patients with chronic low back pain: A pragmatic controlled clinical trial. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 47(2), 57-66. doi:10.2519/jospt.2017.7057
  • Ben-Ami, N., Shapiro, Y., & Pincus, T. (2018). Outcomes in distressed patients with chronic low back pain: Subgroup analysis of a clinical trial. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 48(6), 491-495. doi:10.2519/jospt.2018.7670
  • Bowers, H., Wroe, A. L., & Pincus, T. (2017). ‘Isn’t it ironic?’ beliefs about the unacceptability of emotions and emotional suppression relate to worse outcomes in fibromyalgia. Clinical Rheumatology, 36(5), 1121-1128. doi:10.1007/s10067-017-3590-0
  • Canaway, A., Pincus, T., Underwood, M., Shapiro, Y., Chodick, G., & Ben-Ami, N. (2018). Is an enhanced behaviour change intervention cost-effective compared with physiotherapy for patients with chronic low back pain? results from a multicentre trial in israel. BMJ Open, 8(4) doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019928
  • Holt, N., Mansell, G., Hill, J. C., & Pincus, T. (2018). Testing a model of consultation-based reassurance and back pain outcomes with psychological risk as moderator. Clinical Journal of Pain, 34(4), 339-348. doi:10.1097/AJP.0000000000000541
  • Serbic, D., & Pincus, T. (2017). The relationship between pain, disability, guilt and acceptance in low back pain: A mediation analysis. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 40(4), 651-658. doi:10.1007/s10865-017-9826-2
  • Holt, N. & Pincus, T. (2016) Developing and testing a measure of consultation-based reassurance for people with low back pain in primary care: A cross-sectional study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders,17, 1, p.1-15 , 277.
  • Pincus, T. (2015) Delivering an Optimised Behavioural Intervention (OBI) to people with low back pain with high psychological risk; results and lessons learnt from a feasibility randomised controlled trial of Contextual Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CCBT) vs. Physiotherapy. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

Steven Vogel:

  • NICE. Low back pain and sciatica in over 16s: assessment and management. 2016.
  • Holt N, Pincus T, Vogel S. (2015) Reassurance during low back pain consultations with GPs: a qualitative study. Br J Gen Pract;65(639):e692–701. Doi: 10.3399/bjgp15X686953.
  • Vogel S, Mars T, Keeping S, Barton T, Marlin N, Froud R, et al. Clinical Risk Osteopathy and Management Scientific Report 2013;(February).
  • Pincus, T. Holt, N. Vogel, S. Underwood, M. Savage, R. Walsh, D. A. & Taylor, S. J. C. (2013) Cognitive and affective reassurance and patient outcomes in primary care: A systematic review ',  Pain.154; 2407-2416.
  • Daniels, G. and Vogel, S. (2012) Consent in osteopathy: A cross sectional survey of patients' information and process preferences. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine 15; 3: 92-102.


Cancellation policy

The UCO regrets that no refunds can be made for cancelled places unless a substitute participant can be found. The UCO cannot guarantee that any course will run. In the event of your course being cancelled, all paid fees and deposits will be refunded in full.