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Integrative behavioral couple therapy for chronic pain: Promoting behavior change and emotional acceptance

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By Annmarie Cano and Michelle Leonard • • November 8, 2006

Journal: Journal of Clinical Psychology. Special Issue: Chronic Pain. Volume 62, Issue 11 (November 2006) pp 1409-1418. Published online 25 Aug 2006. Authors and affiliation: Cano A, Leonard M. Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. [E-mail: ] DOI: 10.1002/jclp.20320

Couple therapy has been used with success in treating marital distress, psychological distress, and other problems. Researchers in the pain field have also shown that the inclusion of the spouse in pain treatment may be beneficial to the patient.

In this article, we present integrative behavioral couple therapy (IBCT) as one option for therapists treating patients who have pain and marital distress. IBCT improves on traditional behavior therapy because it promotes processes that have been shown to be lacking in pain patients' relationships: emotional acceptance and empathy. After reviewing the use of behavior change and emotional acceptance strategies in couples, we describe a couple for whom IBCT improved functioning.

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