Group therapy to manage pain in people with Crohn’s Disease

Managing pain in people with Crohn's Disease: testing of an Acceptance and Commitment Group Therapy intervention.

Background to the study

Chronic pain is experienced by many people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Pain management is a challenging area as pain medication carries risks/side effects or can be ineffective. Many people with chronic pain in IBD experience low mood and anxiety, and research demonstrates the interaction of psychological factors and need for psychological management in IBD. It is important for people with IBD chronic pain to learn coping skills to manage to live better with pain.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a type of therapy which helps individuals develop an acceptance to pain and increase valued activity in the presence of difficult thoughts and feelings. Group-based therapy allows patients to share experiences and draw on social support.

Study Aims

This research project aims to test the feasibility of group-based ACT therapy for chronic pain in Crohn’s disease.

Picture from: Bielefeldt, K., Davis, B., & Binion, D. G. (2009)


  • We will invite participants aged 18 and over with a diagnosis of CD to take part in the study.
  • Participants will undergo 8 x 90-minute sessions of weekly ACT therapy in groups of 8 patients, all led by a single clinical psychologist.
  • Group sessions were to be carried out face to face, however given the COVID-19 pandemic we are considering modifying this to an online format (e.g. Zoom or Microsoft Teams).

We would like to understand whether people with IBD would be willing to do online group therapy or would they prefer to come into a hospital/university setting to carry this out face to face.

Research team: Wladzia Czuber-Dochan (Principal Investigator), Alexa Duff, Joel Mawdsley, Calum Moulton, Christine Norton & Louise Sweeney

This research is funded as part of the Crohn's & Colitis UK Pain Collaborative Initiative. To read more about this project, please click here.