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The psychosocial context of acupuncture: what is it and does it matter? Seminar

16:00 - 17:00
12 May 2011
School of Psychology, Room 3095, Shackleton Building (Building 44), University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Barbara Seiter on 02380 595578 or email .

Event details

This presentation will discuss a programme of research around the psychosocial context of acupuncture for chronic pain.

I use the term psychosocial context to refer to the constellation of cognitions and emotions that patients experience toward their pain and acupuncture, including their cognitive and emotional representations of pain, treatment beliefs, hopes, fears, desires, expectations, and appraisals.  The term also acknowledges the social nature of patients’ experiences of acupuncture; patients are seen as embedded in both their own personal social networks and also those relationships involved in treatment (e.g. with acupuncturists).  Meta-analyses suggest that the psychosocial context in general makes an important contribution to the effectiveness of acupuncture for pain (although specific factors e.g. needle placement are also important).  I will present a series of qualitative studies designed to identify and map the components of the psychosocial context of acupuncture.  These studies address such topics as:  why patients use acupuncture; how patients choose an acupuncturist; how the clinical setting impacts patients’ experiences.  Initial findings from a major prospective questionnaire study will also be presented, to establish which psychosocial factors predict clinical outcomes in a cohort of patients having acupuncture for persistent non-specific low back pain.   

Tea will be served beforehand at 15:45 in room 3096 (iZone room).

Speaker information

Dr Felicity Bishop,School of Psychology, University of Southampton

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