Category: Cultural Diversity / Vulnerable Populations

Clinical Roundtable

Clinical Round Table 3 - Reducing Cognitive Load of CBT: Process of Adapting and Implementing CBT in a Low-Literacy Chronic Pain Population

Saturday, November 18
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Sapphire 410, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Treatment-CBT | Group Therapy | Cultural Diversity/ Vulnerable Populations
Presentation Type: Clinical Roundtable

The goal of this clinical roundtable is to provide evidence-based information and skills on the process of adapting CBT for populations with low primary and health literacy.  Panelists will discuss specific adaptations, including the content and process of treatment, from the Learning About My Pain (LAMP) protocol (Eyer & Thorn, 2015), a recently tested group CBT intervention in low-income settings in Alabama that has demonstrated positive outcomes for patients.


Stressors demand substantial cognitive resources, leaving fewer resources available for comprehending, learning, and remembering new information, which has been shown to diminish patient benefits from psychosocial treatments in previous trials. These substantial challenges are compounded by difficulties faced by individuals with low literacy in treatments that are heavily dependent on the written word.  CBT typically requires patients to complete written homework assignments and read handouts and workbooks. By reducing the required literacy level of patient materials as well as enhancing them through key illustrations and using national guidelines to simplify them, researchers and clinicians can effectively reduce the extraneous cognitive load of CBT and improve its accessibility and acceptability for populations previously excluded from its benefits.


In addition to providing strategies for reducing the literacy demands of CBT materials from the original 10th grade level (Thorn, 2004) to a 5th grade level, the panelists will discuss various treatment process adaptations that were made to improve treatment engagement, retention, and efficacy with patients with low literacy (e.g. use of visual and audio supplements, use of interactive teaching techniques). Other adaptations discussed will include the prioritization of behavioral tasks (e.g., relaxation, behavioral pacing) over cognitive tasks (e.g., cognitive restructuring) at the start of treatment. Panelists will demonstrate specific didactic and therapeutic strategies for delivering manualized treatment components of the adapted approach. Understanding the importance of engaging patients and community partners in the adaptation process of evidence-based treatments will also be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

Send Email for Beverly Thorn

Send Email for Benjamin Van Dyke

Send Email for Calia Torres

Send Email for Andrea Newman

Send Email for John Burns


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Clinical Round Table 3 - Reducing Cognitive Load of CBT: Process of Adapting and Implementing CBT in a Low-Literacy Chronic Pain Population



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