Pain Psychology Interest Group

Society for Health Psychology

Group Focus

The Pain Psychology Interest Group (PPIG) is focused on advancing the science and practice of psychology to minimize suffering, maximize functioning, and improve quality of life for individuals living with pain.


We are a group of researchers and psychologists who share a particular interest in advancing the science and practice of pain. The role of this group is to:

  • Define the core competencies required of psychologists who identify as having an expertise in pain.
  • Support research on pain prevention, assessment, and treatment.
  • Promote use of evidence-based treatment in clinical practice.
  • Educate psychologists, non-psychologist professionals, and the public on the role of psychology in pain.
  • Liaise with national and international pain and medical organizations (e.g. AAPM, IASP, AMA) to enhance collaboration across other disciplines associated with pain research and treatment.
  • Engage in advocacy work to support ongoing development and accessibility of pain-related research and treatment.
  • Facilitate dissemination of information, communication, and networking among pain psychologists through a SfHP web page, a listserv, face-to-face meetings during the APA convention, and other means.

Our Mission

The Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force Report was published in 2019. This seminal policy statement was a joint publication of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and a panel of experts. This report highlights that:

  • Approximately 50 million US adults live with chronic pain.
  • 19.6 million adults experience significant interference in their daily life activities as a result of their pain condition.
  • Pain-related expenses cost the US $500-635 billion annually.

The report also outlines educational, research, and clinical challenges that directly impact our nation’s ability to effectively prevent, evaluate, and treat pain. It also proposed pathways to address pain treatment needs while reducing opioid mortality rates. The principles underlying these recommendations explicitly reference the role of psychosocial factors in pain and cite a need for interdisciplinary approaches to pain assessment and treatment.

Successfully addressing these challenges requires both research-oriented psychologists studying the science of pain, as well as clinical practitioners translating these findings into evidence-based treatment.

Our History

The Pain Psychology Interest Group (PPIG) was created in 2016. Since its inception, members of the PPIG have been involved with a number of activities to advance the profession, including:

  • Collaboration with APA and state psychological associations (Ohio, Oklahoma) to raise awareness of the role of psychology in pain and health with state legislators and their representatives. Such advocacy initiatives are part of a larger-scale effort to address access and reimbursement issues for patients and clinicians.
  • Creation of a pain education curriculum for APA intended to be delivered at the state level to educate psychologists across all settings on the role of pain in physical and emotional well-being.
  • In partnership with the Interdivisional Healthcare Committee, developing and presenting a full-day pain management pre-conference workshop at the annual meeting.
  • Subcommittee of members invited to serve on an advisory panel to help guide APA’s response to the opioid crisis. Several individuals provided feedback to APA CEO Dr. Arthur Evans regarding his discussion with the US Surgeon General on this issue.
  • Publishing a paper in the American Psychologist proposing core competencies for Pain Psychology.
  • Presenting pain-related programming at the APA Annual Conference.
  • Members specifically recruited from the Interest Group to present on pain-related issues at national conferences and policy holder meetings.

The above represents just a small portion of the work done by the PPIG and its members over the years.

Interested in joining the Pain Psychology Interest Group?

Connect with health psychologists

The PPIG continues to thrive and is open to any student or psychologist who has an interest in pain-related work. Contact us for more information or to be added to the listserv!



Looking for a Pain Psychologist?

Connect with health psychologists

The American Psychological Association’s Psychologist Locator Page can help you find a pain psychologist in your area.


Interest Group Leadership

  • Daniel Bruns, PsyD
  • Maija Bruzas, PhD
    Associate Chair