Objectives: This study investigates the efficacy of a standard cognitive behavioral group-program for chronic pain, in comparison with the same group program that integrates an existential perspective at treatment conclusion, 3-month, and 6-month follow-up. Design: This study is a quasi-experimental clinical trial with two treatment groups.
Methods: We included 113 patients suffering from chronic pain who had been accepted for treatment at an interdisciplinary pain center. In addition to the specific therapy program, the patients received intense interdisciplinary treatment. Outcome measures include both pain-related disability and pain severity. Repeated-measures analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were used to test statistical significance, followed by tests of simple contrasts with pre-treatment as a reference-point.
Results: Results indicated that the integration of an existential perspective leads to significantly lowered pain-related disability than the classic cognitive behavioral group-program. Additionally, existential aspects seem to be particularly important for patients with a spiritual orientation. The findings from this study support the importance of considering specific existential aspects in the cognitive-behavioral approach in treating chronic illness.