About Us


The American Association of Pain Psychology (AAPP) was established in 2010 to provide a place for clinicians and scientists to network and advocate for Pain Psychology as a formal specialty. Further aims were to provide guidelines and education regarding the practice and study of pain management in order to maximize the quality of care provided to our clients.


  • Pursuing Pain Psychology treatment with passion. Pain is an incredibly rich field that intersects with (to name just a few!) medicine, cutting-edge research, human development, family systems work, trauma, the mind-body field, and conventional psychological approaches. For the enthusiastic pain provider, there is no end to the learning.
  • Pain Psychology is a primary intervention for many patients and not secondary to medical treatment. Consequently, mental health clinicians working in pain need to be able to represent our field and advocate for it with medical professionals, insurance companies and other persons or entities that may conceptualize pain in more conventional ways.
  • We are stronger together. Pain practitioners run the gamut from those working with pediatric pain to geriatric pain with a wide variety of approaches (e.g. CBT, ACT, biofeedback, Somatic-oriented). AAPP aims to expose all Pain Psychology practitioners to the variety of evidence-based methods used by our members, so that we can learn more about pain and more from each other. This will only enrich us as practitioners and help relieve the suffering of our patients.
  • Pain Psychology lacks a cohesive set of standards. There is no credential for Pain Psychology and those working in the field sometimes do not have access to the education and supervision/consultation needed or wanted. AAPP aims to provide both ethical and high quality foundational and higher level education regarding Pain Psychology to help practitioners and patients achieve the greatest degree of success.


AAPP was developed as a labor of love and through the combined effort of a dedicated steering committee and loyal membership base. The organization is run on a strictly volunteer basis and we have no employees or corporate sponsors. We hope you will consider joining and supporting AAPP as we strive to organize and educate in the specialty of Pain Psychology in the years to come.

The American Association of Pain Psychology (AAPP) is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area. This population-dense and culturally diverse location is home to many different treatment and research centers for pain, including universities, city and private clinics, and private practices.




AAPP was created when several local Bay Area psychologists gathered with a vision to create an organization that recognized the field of Pain Psychology. The hope was to create a professional community, a greater voice to our particular subspecialty, and the opportunity to provide high quality educational seminars relevant to pain that went beyond basic principles of chronic pain treatment. There was a positive response in the local pain community and a tradition started of offering four educational seminars a year.

Capitalizing on the breadth of local expertise in various aspects of Pain Psychology, seminars have been diverse, thought-provoking, and well-received by members. A variety of featured topics have caught the interest of many and have included trainings on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for pain, the newest medical treatments for pain, Biofeedback, Feldenkrais movement, establishing a private practice, understanding the Workers’ Compensation system, Mindfulness interventions, pain pharmacology, sensorimotor approaches to trauma and pain and trainings on culturally-competent treatment.

Over time, we have been able to attract well-known speakers such as Robyn Walser from ACT, Sean Mackey, MD from Stanford, Janina Fisher, PhD, from the Sensorimotor Institute and Peter Levine, PhD., the originator of Somatic Experiencing®.

As AAPP grew, the next logical step was to share these amazing educational lectures with a broader audience and cast a wider net for networking in order to shape a stronger community of those working in the sub-specialty of Pain Psychology. In 2018, we began videotaping our speakers so talks could be available for viewing outside the “bubble” of Northern California. Since most continuing education seminars about pain are fairly basic, we have always been dedicated to hosting speakers who share more in-depth knowledge about various aspects of Pain Psychology. We also want to encourage participation by students and those newly-interested in learning about Pain Psychology.

As part of our ongoing effort to provide high quality education to those new to Pain Psychology, we have created a series of videos on the basic principles of our sub-specialty. The Foundations of Pain Psychology series features a host of pain experts speaking on various aspects of pain treatment. It is ideal for those looking to develop a strong foundation in understanding or treating chronic pain patients. Keep an eye out for this series that is due out in April of 2019.


Membership in the American Association of Pain Psychology (AAPP) offers a number of benefits, including:

  • The opportunity to support the important sub-specialty of Pain Psychology.
  • The lowest rates on AAPP educational seminars
  • The lowest rates for Continuing Education credits (CE credits)
  • 25-30% member discounts on our Online Courses
  • A personalized listing on the AAPP website
  • Opportunities for networking and professional growth