Psychological Interventions for Chronic Headaches by Christopher Gilbert, PhD (2 CE credits)


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Many chronic headache sufferers are tentatively open to a psychological/behavioral approach, and unlike much chronic pain work, intervention can include actually preventing the pain from happening. This presentation will summarize Dr. Gilbert’s 30+ years of experience with headache management, including leading dozens of headache groups at Kaiser’s pain program in San Francisco. He will discuss headache-specific, behavioral, cognitive, and psychotherapeutic approaches, with emphasis on prevention. Also covered; interaction with medical providers, feasibility of a group approach, self-regulation (cognitive-behavioral, relaxation, body use, biofeedback, etc.) common migraine risk factors and triggers, emotional factors and behaviors maintaining headaches, research on headache origins, assessment tools, use of headache diaries, some sample cases, and resources.

Learning objectives

  1. Discuss headache-specific behavioral, cognitive, and psychotherapeutic approaches
  2. Discuss the importance of prevention as a therapeutic approach
  3. Identify common migraine risk factors and triggers
  4. Provide assessment tools (e.g., use of diaries)

NOTE: In order to obtain the CE credit certificate you’ll need to fill out an evaluation of the course and pass the quiz on the video content that will be revealed at the end of the video.


Christopher Gilbert, PhD, worked as a psychologist in the Chronic Pain Management Program at Kaiser San Francisco for 15 years, and at UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine until 2021, specializing in biofeedback. He now lives in Tucson, AZ.

He has written several articles in the areas of respiration, biofeedback, and chronic pain, co-edited and wrote two books on breathing disorders, and taught undergraduate courses in research methods and cognitive psychology. He is a member of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback and the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis.


The American Association of Pain Psychology is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The American Association of Pain Psychology maintains responsibility for this program and its content.