Evaluation of a Virtual Compassionate Living Group for Patients with Chronic Pain

Alicia Brown, Caitlin Woodcock, Kelly Cocallis, Alan Robert Bowman

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Abstract

Chronic pain affects around 28 million people in the UK. Those living with chronic pain can frequently experience internalised self-stigma and negative self-evaluations as a result of the pain itself and due to difficult life experiences. Previous research has found Compassion Focused Therapy to be effective for people living with long term health conditions like chronic pain. The current study sought to evaluate a routine Virtual Compassionate Living Group for patients with chronic pain on the measures of self-compassion, self-criticism and pain self-efficacy. The evaluation took place in a routine clinical setting. 13 outpatients attended the online group across three separate groups. Groups were delivered over eight or ten sessions with the group content focusing on psychoeducation of the Compassion Focused Therapy model and Compassionate Mind Training. Reliable and clinically significant change analyses were used to assess the data. Results showed that there had been improvements on the measures of self-compassion with 6 out of 13 patients exhibiting reliable and clinically significant change. Some improvements had also been made on pain self-efficacy and self-criticism but to a lesser extent. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the evaluation feedback forms for the course. Three superordinate themes were identified; sense of belonging, flourishing and virtual benefits. The service evaluation indicated that a Virtual Compassionate Living Group for patients with chronic pain can lead to improvements in self-compassion. This is consistent with previous research evidence, but larger scale evaluations are required to verify conclusions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalOBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine
Volume7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2022

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