Knowledge Base

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy

What is Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive – behavioural therapy (CBT) is based on theories of learning and the understanding of psychological defence mechanisms.  Techniques focus on:

  1. Monitoring symptoms, thinking patterns, moods and situations;
  2. Learning new skills and techniques;
  3. Learning how thought patterns and pain symptoms can interact; and
  4. Practising certain skills and behaviours to better manage pain, such as coping skills and relaxation methods to help prepare for, and cope with, pain.

CBT is very goal-oriented and is typically used to help address specific problems. 

How does it work?

CBT asserts that changing the way a person thinks can lead to changes in behaviour and other physical or emotional outcomes. For neuropathic pain, CBT modifies the way pain is interpreted and provides coping mechanisms to help manage pain. These tools can help minimize the impact of neuropathic pain and help improve daily function. 

Related evidence

Syrjala KL, Jensen MP, Mendoza ME, Yi JC, Fisher HM, Keefe FJ. Psychological and behavioral approaches to cancer pain management. J Clin Oncol. 2014 Jun 1;32(16):1703-11. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2013.54.4825. Epub 2014 May 5.


WebMD [Internet]. Managing Chronic Pain: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Approach [updated 2014; cited 2014 Aug 5]. Available from:

Wikipedia [Internet]. Cognitive behavioral therapy [updated 2014 Oct 14; cited 2014 Aug 5]. Available from: