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Faculty Workshop – Jessica Flanigan

March 3, 2023 @ 12:00 pm 2:00 pm

Dr. Jessica Flanigan (University of Richmond) will present a work-in-progress titled “Rethinking Chronic Pain.” The abstract is as follows:

At least 20% of adults suffer from chronic pain. Pain reprocessing therapy is a promising, though often overlooked, treatment for chronic pain. Reprocessing therapy, broadly understood, consists in learning about the neurological nature of pain, identifying the psychosocial causes of chronic pain, journaling, behavioral therapy, and the resumption of normal activities. Crucially, reprocessing therapy requires that the patient acknowledge that they are not physically injured and accept that their pain has a psychological origin. In section 1, I argue that a significant number of chronic pain patients are suffering from psychosomatic pain disorders and I introduce reprocessing therapy as a promising treatment. In section 2, I then argue that a person who suffers from chronic pain can rationally undergo reprocessing therapy to address their chronic pain, even though the therapy requires patients to initially adopt a belief for pragmatic reasons. I address potential ethical objections to the promotion of reprocessing therapy for chronic pain in section 3. Section 4 concludes.