Improving patient–practitioner interaction in chronic pain rehabilitation

Authors Baukje B. Stinesen , Petra Sneijder , Albere Köke , Rob Smeets
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Pain
Publication date 2019
Research groups Communication in Digital Transition
Type Article


Stimulating patients to approach their pain from a biopsychosocial perspective is central to chronic pain rehabilitation. However, conversations between patients and their healthcare professionals about the social and psychological factors that may contribute to the continuation of pain and disability can be challenging. The current scientific literature does not sufficiently pinpoint the difficulties in patient–practitioner interaction on chronic pain, and it falls short of answering the question of how a joint exploration of the social and psychological factors that might be involved in the patient’s pain and evolving disability can be enhanced. In this theoretical article, we introduce discursive psychology as a potentially valuable research perspective to gain a better understanding of the difficulties in patient–practitioner interaction in the context of chronic pain rehabilitation. Discursive psychology focuses on features of people’s talk (e.g. that of patients and practitioners) and is concerned with the social practices that people perform as part of a specific interactional context. In this paper, we provide an introduction to the main theoretical notions of discursive psychology. We illustrate how discursive psychological analyses can inform our understanding of the specific sensitivities in conversations between patients with chronic pain and their practitioners. Finally, we address how a better understanding of these sensitivities offers a gateway towards improving these conversations.


Language English
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Pain
Year and volume 19 4
Key words chronic pain; patient–practitioner interaction; discursive psychology
Digital Object Identifier
Page range 843-853

Baukje Stinesen

Baukje Stinesen | Researcher / PhD candidate | Research group Behaviour & Conversation in digital transition

Baukje Stinesen

  • PhD candidate
  • Research group: Communication in Digital Transition