On March 30, Pain Connection launched its training program for future support group leaders over Zoom. The training is typically held in person, but was restructured to be virtual in light of COVID-19. 

Pain Connection is U.S. Pain Foundation’s support group network, with five monthly national meetings, 11 state meetings, and three specialized groups — all being held via Zoom due to the COVID-19 epidemic. This is the eighth training bringing together people with pain and mental health professionals to learn about the psychosocial impact of chronic pain and how to run an effective chronic pain support group. 

A total of 23 trainees are currently enrolled in the six-session course, which is led by Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, Clinical Director of Pain Connection; Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy; and Malcolm Herman, Director of the National Coalition for Chronic Pain Providers and Professionals. Topics include the stages of grief with chronic pain, cognitive reframing, relaxation techniques, developing a treatment plan, and the logistics of starting and maintaining a group, among others. The course involves both presentations and interactive sessions. 

“U.S. Pain is excited to have this eighth training on Zoom,” says Herman. “The program has been tailored to meet the needs of people with chronic pain and to reach out to more potential leaders from other states and countries that will become part of our support group network. It is always inspiring to watch people grow and become more confident during the leader trainings.”

Attending the training is free for U.S. Pain volunteers thanks to sponsorship from Amgen and Novartis, as well as Eli Lilly. To learn more about Pain Connection, visit painconnection.org.