05 Jun

PhD Defence Bauke Beate Stinesen

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Rob J.E.M. Smeets

Co-supervisors: Dr. Petra Sneijder, Dr. Albère J.A. Köke

Keywords: Chronic pain. Pain rehabilitation, Communication, Patient-practitioner interaction

"Towards a Shared Understanding of Chronic Pain: Patient–Practitioner Interaction in Interdisciplinary Pain Rehabilitation"

To achieve optimal outcomes of interdisciplinary chronic pain rehabilitation treatment, it is important that, during their pre-treatment encounters, patients come to a sufficiently shared understanding with their practitioners regarding the biopsychosocial nature of their pain problem. This requires a trusting relation­ship and collaborative communication. This thesis investigates how patients and their rehabilitation practitioners manage their communication about pain. The thesis provides insight in the delicate nature of talking about chronic pain, and especially its psychosocial aspects. For example, the way patients use language, shows that work around the problem of present­ing their complaints as authentic and legitimate, despite the fact that their condition is difficult to explain on the basis of biomedical impairments or pathology. Practitioners are faced with the challenge of discussing psychosocial factors, such as behaviour, without discrediting patients. Insights from this research support practitioners to reflect on their communication practices and strengthen their therapeutic relationships with patients.

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