Julia Keilty is a PhD student in Clinical Psychology at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Originally from Kanata, Ontario, Julia completed her undergraduate degree at UNB Fredericton, where her research explored the effects of anxiety sensitivity and pain anxiety on sexual functioning and sexual pain. As she works towards her PhD in Clinical Psychology, her research interests involve examining shared risk factors in the co-occurrence of chronic pain and mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorders. She is also interested in determining effective strategies to improving the outcomes of Veterans with chronic pain. Julia is grateful for the support of the Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans’ generous contributions to her research, which she hopes will positively influence the lives of Veterans living with chronic pain
Providing an Alternative Delivery Method Intervention for Veterans with Comorbid Chronic Pain and Psychopathology
Canadian Veterans’ chronic pain is highly comorbid with psychopathology, including anxiety. For Veterans with PTSD and anxiety/mood disorders, anxiety can lead to hypervigilance and/or avoidance of treatment. Even when Veterans do commit to treatment, many of the clinics they are referred to do not have psychologists on staff. This only adds to their anxiety, as they are often already undergoing the stress of navigating the medical release process and attempting to access needed services. It is, therefore, imperative for Veterans to partake in psychological interventions that target anxiety and fear. This study will help to develop alternative ways of delivering these services.
This research will aim to answer: can psychological services designed to target the role of anxiety and fear in chronic pain delivered through alternative services (e.g., a smartphone app, email, online group work, etc.) improve the outcomes Veterans experience from completing treatment in a community multidisciplinary clinic? The primary goal will be to develop, implement, and evaluate alternative mental health services targeting fear and arousal with Veterans seeking treatment for chronic pain.
This program of research will help educate healthcare providers on the effectiveness of alternative treatment deliveries when treating Veterans with comorbid chronic pain and psychopathology.