Researchers looked at patients who received Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy and compared them with patients who received cognitive behavioural therapy and with patients who received education on fibromyalgia. They measured patients’ level of pain, fibromyalgia symptoms, sleep problems, cognitive difficulties, anxiety and depression, fatigue, and physical functioning. They found that::
This was a randomized controlled trial (RCT). In an RCT, patients are randomly picked to go in one treatment group or the other treatment group.
Who participated in the study? This study included 230 people who had fibromyalgia.
How was the study done? The study compared Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy with cognitive behavioural therapy and with fibromyalgia education. Patients attended treatment sessions with a psychologist for 90 minutes once weekly for 8 weeks and were followed up again at 6 months.
Emotional awareness and expression therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy and fibromyalgia education
Emotional awareness and expression therapy assumes that fibromyalgia is an amplification of pain due to stress or conflict, complicated by emotional avoidance (trying to prevent pain by adopting behavior aiming to avoid pain).
Emotional awareness and expression therapy encourages patients to express these emotions. It is a group-based therapy.
In the sessions, patients engaged in role-playing and other techniques to identify and express their emotions. Homework included writing, observing emotions, communicating honestly, and emotionally activating daily activities.
Cognitive behavioural therapy assumes that responses to pain can be influenced by social, environmental, and behavioural factors.
Sessions included a lecture, teaching and practicing a skill, and homework applying the skill to daily life.
Fibromyalgia education: Sessions included the history and diagnosis of fibromyalgia, pain assessment, medications, research, and use of the Internet for health care information.
People with fibromyalgia experience widespread pain, fatigue, trouble sleeping, and mood disturbance. Many people don’t experience relief with medication, so doctors have been using psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy to help people with fibromyalgia manage their symptoms. This study has explored a novel psychological approach to fibromyalgia treatment.
This Evidence Summary is based on the following article:
Lumley MA, Schubiner H, Lockhart NA, et al. Emotional awareness and expression therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and education for fibromyalgia: a cluster-randomized controlled trial. Pain. 2017 Dec;158(12):2354-2363. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001036. PubMed
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2018