Dr Melissa Day: 2020 Paul Bourke Lecture

2020 Paul Bourke Award Lecture:
Non-pharmacological treatments for chronic pain

Research has demonstrated that the perception of pain involves a complex network of brain regions associated not only with somatosensory processing, but also with regions associated with emotional, cognitive, and motivational processes. Therefore, treatment can intervene at any one of these levels to effectively mitigate the felt experience of pain. This neurological understanding of pain has paved the way for the successful application of psychosocial treatments for chronic pain management, and research has consistently supported the efficacy of such approaches. What is less well known is the mechanisms underlying the effects of psychosocial chronic pain treatments. In this presentation I will discuss the rationale for applying cognitive and mindfulness-based approaches for pain, and I will present recent data testing the efficacy and biopsychosocial mechanisms of these approaches. Advancing our understanding of the mechanisms of these interventions via theoretically driven research has the capacity to lead to streamlined protocols that optimise the efficacy and efficiency of psychosocial pain treatments.

Dr. Day completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology and post-doctoral research fellowship in pain psychology. She is now a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Health Psychologist in Australia, and works as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at The University of Queensland. Dr. Day’s program of research has focused on implementing randomised controlled trials to evaluate the efficacy and mechanisms of cognitive-behavioural and mindfulness-based interventions for chronic pain conditions. She recently published a sole authored book with Wiley titled, “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Chronic Pain: A Clinical Manual and Guide”.

The Paul Bourke Lectures are named in honour of the late Paul Francis Bourke (1938–1999), President of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia from 1993–1997. These lectures are presented each year by the recipients of the previous year’s Paul Bourke Awards for Early Career Research.

This lecture is jointly hosted by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, The University of Queensland, and The University of Queensland School of Psychology.

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