The Comfort Ability

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The Comfort Ability: A Pain Management Workshop for Youth with Chronic Pain and their Parents

The Comfort Ability is a fun and interactive one-day program to help children and their parents or caregivers learn how to better manage chronic pain. The program is run by staff psychologists from Boston Children's Hospital's Pain Treatment Services and introduces cognitive behavioral and biobehavioral pain management strategies.

The Comfort Ability emphasizes the mind-body connection and offers non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical strategies for improved pain management.

How does the Comfort Ability work?

This Comfort Ability provides families with a foundation for understanding how psychological care can improve pain management. It also provides adolescents and their families skills necessary for improved emotional and physical functioning.

What happens at the Comfort Ability?


While youths and their parents or caregivers start off the day together, most of the day is spent in separate groups. The youths are introduced to biobehavioral pain management strategies, such as guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation and biofeedback. They have an opportunity to practice these skills in a group setting.

They also learn about how pain functions in the body, receive an introduction to cognitive behavioral therapy strategies and participate in a group art project. Additionally, youth will have an opportunity to share with peers about their pain experiences and learn from others.

In their group, parents and caregivers learn about:

  • adaptive management of chronic pain
  • new strategies for supporting their child at home and school, and learn about
  • the biobehavioral and cognitive behavioral skills their children are being taught


Who can attend the Comfort Ability?

Youth ages 10-17 are eligible sign up for the Comfort Ability. You do not have to be a current patient within the Pain Treatment Service to participate.

How do I enroll in the Comfort Ability?

The Comfort Ability runs every three months, with registration on a rolling basis. The cost for the program is $120, which includes youth participation and up to two caregivers. This service is not covered by insurance, and financial assistance is available.

For more information, please contact Rachael Coakley, PhD, at 617-355-7581 or rachael.coakley@childrens.harvard.edu.

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