Psychology and Behavior

The impact of chronic pain isn’t just on the physical sensation: it can affect all areas of our life, like exercise, sleep, work, finances, etc. Pain can even affect one’s self-worth and emotional well-being. Pain psychology is a specialty area designed to help individuals approach specific and unique challenges that come with chronic pain.

What is Pain?

You may think of pain as being a negative experience felt in the body alone. However, the International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as being both a negative sensory and emotional experience. That means, psychology is built into the very definition of pain! Furthermore, neuroscience tells us that how we think and feel impacts how we process pain at the level of the brain. This is one of the foundations for the mind-body connection.

How do pain psychologists help?

Pain psychologists can help you learn self-management techniques to better regulate sensory experience. Our goal is to help you build your pain coping “toolkit,” which can include:

  • Pain science education 
  • Relaxation and mindfulness
  • Time-based activity pacing
  • Developing more balanced thoughts

Pain Psychology at Stanford Medicine

At the Stanford Pain Management Center, our psychologists are available to you in several capacities, including psychological evaluations to help build a comprehensive treatment plan with your pain management team, individual pain psychology services, and group classes.

Services and classes offered below are available to current patients of the Stanford Pain Management Center, if you have any quesitons please contact your Stanford pain provider.  

Community Resources at Stanford Medicine

There are also several free community resources offered at the Stanford Medicine Outpatient Center in Redwood City, CA. Explore our classes and lectures for more information about these community resources that are drop-in and free to the public.