Encouraging couples to change: a motivational assessment to promote well-being in people with chronic pain and their partners

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Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.)


OBJECTIVE: Motivating people with chronic pain to engage in therapy can be difficult, especially when individuals have not experienced adequate pain management. Therefore, it may be useful for clinicians to use a motivational assessment as a part of treatment to help patients achieve immediate benefits. Additionally, because the social context impacts chronic illness, the significant other should be included in the assessment. This article describes a motivational assessment that was developed for people with chronic pain and their partners.

INTERVENTION: The motivational assessment begins with gathering information from questionnaires that each partner completes, conducting a semi-structured interview about the couples' relationship and pain history, and observing the couples converse about pain coping. Next, tailored feedback is provided to each couple regarding their strengths and weaknesses with suggestions for how to improve their relationship and pain coping skills. This tailored feedback engages the couple in this conversation by adhering to the principles of motivational interviewing.

CASE EXAMPLE: A case example of a couple who completed this motivational assessment is described. This assessment resulted in immediate improvements in marital satisfaction, pain severity, and mood for the couple.

CONCLUSIONS: This article provides a guide to clinicians for using a motivational assessment to help patients with a chronic illness achieve immediate benefits.

Medical Subject Headings

Adaptation, Psychological; Chronic Pain; Communication; Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Motivation; Motivational Interviewing; Spouses; Surveys and Questionnaires

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