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CBT Skills for Distressing Physical Symptoms: Live Online – April 2023

CBT Skills for Distressing Physical Symptoms: Live Online – April 2023

Lara Desrosiers
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The landscape in physical rehabilitation settings is changing rapidly as the research continues to identify numerous benefits of integrating psychosocial strategies into treatment. An individual’s beliefs, thoughts, and emotions will influence their physiology, their experience of their symptoms and how they engage in their unique rehabilitation process. Your effectiveness as a practitioner is determined largely by your capacity to intentionally identify and address these factors. However, these are skills that are not taught in most traditional physical rehabilitation programs. This experiential course is designed to address this gap, teaching practical strategies from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy that can be integrated immediately into practice.

This is a live online course and attendance is required on dates/times listed below. You must have access to speakers/web camera/headphones.

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, participants will be able to:

  • Appreciate the psychological processes influencing recovery in physical rehabilitation settings.
  • Help patients to identify the various components of their experience with distressing symptoms (physical sensations, emotions, thoughts, and behaviours).
  • Integrate traditional CBT skills into clinical practice in order to:
    • Identify unhelpful thinking patterns
    • Introduce thought records to evaluate and shift distressing thoughts
    • Develop behavioural experiments & exposure hierarchies to challenge avoidant behaviours rooted in anxiety and interfering with recovery
  • Define psychological flexibility and how this relates to physical recovery
  • Employ tools for measuring psychological flexibility in patients that are getting “hooked in” by their symptoms.
  • Integrate tools rooted in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy into clinical practice. Strategies will include
    • Acceptance & self-compassion.
    • Defusion from painful experiences.
    • Dropping anchor/contacting the present moment.
    • Moving Forward with pain (values-based goal setting).
  • Obtain a framework for conceptualizing the private experiences (thoughts, emotions, physical sensations) and behaviours of patients in order to help guide the selection of psychosocial strategies.

Audience: This course is open to all healthcare and wellness professionals.

Prerequisites: None

Registration Forms

CBT April 2023


April 1-2, 2023, from 9:00am-5:00pm ET (Toronto). Please convert to your local time zone.


Lara Desrosiers MSc. OT Reg. (Ont.)

Lara is an Occupational Therapist who has worked in community mental health settings since graduating from McMaster University in 2009. She has a passion for mental health and several years of experience addressing mental illness, trauma, and addiction using occupational therapy frameworks, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and other psychotherapeutic strategies. While navigating her own journey with pelvic floor dysfunction, Lara realized the value of applying these strategies in the field of pelvic health and discovered the abundant evidence supporting this application.

Currently, Lara is an Occupational Therapist at Homewood Health Centre where she is an advocate for integrating pain education and programming into mental health care. Lara also operates a private practice (Pelvic Resilience) with a mission of supporting individuals experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction and/or persistent pain to address symptoms, manage distress, and navigate each unique experience in a way that promotes the whole person.



What people are saying

CBT for Persistent Physical Symptoms is a diverse topic that can be used with a variety of client populations. Lara does an excellent job making the information accessible, from the theoretical underpinnings to practical tools to use in your every-day practice setting. The course comes with both electronic and hardcopy resources, which meant I was able to immediately put my new skills to use with clients. It was a fantastic course!

– Maryann A

As physiotherapists, we spend the early part of our career learning technical hands-on skills.  Once those are mastered, there comes a time when you feel the need to explore the fascinating psychology of pain and disability  This course is a great starting point in the pursuit of CBT skill-attainment.

– Jeffrey B

I really appreciate how tangible this course is. While being a “psych” course, I really felt I had small nuggets of gold (word choice, recognition of thought processes) that I could immediately take away and put into practice in my professional and personal life. A lot of it spoke to my soul!

– Caitlyn G