Distress and depression in chronic pain with Prof Tamar Pincus

Professor Tamar Pincus

Many people with chronic pain report feeling low mood, but practitioners' often find it difficult to elicit the focus of these feelings, and to know how to respond to them. In this talk I will explain why depression is considered a major obstacle to recovery, explain the difference between pain-related distress and clinical depression and describe some recent interventions that seem promising.


Professor Tamar Pincus holds a PhD in psychology (University College London), as well as Masters degrees in experimental research methods in psychology (UCL), and epidemiology (Cambridge University). She is a registered practicing practitioner with the Health Professional Council. Her research has embraced a variety of methodologies, including experimental, epidemiological and qualitative. The research has included investigation of attention and recall in pain patients; the psychological predictors for poor outcome in low back pain, and the study of clinicians’ beliefs and attitudes in low back pain. Her research has included the investigation of interventions through randomised controlled trials, and throughout she has collaborated closely with researchers from many disciplines, including doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and clinical psychologists, from a multitude of institutions, in the UK and internationally. She also convened the international consensus group to establish what factors and measures should be included in prospective cohorts investigation the transition from early to persistent back pain. Most recently her research has focused on delivering effective reassurance to patients in primary care, and studying the use of technology to deliver rehabilitation. Her practical work has focused on training practitioners in effective communication skills and fostering awareness of patients’ psychological needs and concerns.


Click here to listen to a podcast with Tamar - Psychology and back pain