Skill Development for Psychologically Informed Physical Therapy Management of Low Back Pain

Saturday, March 12, 2016 – 8:00am to 4:00pm

Registration begins at 7:30am

Location: University of Pittsburgh, Forbes Tower

Cost: $200

All proceeds from this course will be donated to the Foundation for Physical Therapy as part of the Pitt-Marquette Challenge



Sorry, but we are unable to issue refunds.

Course Description

The biopsychosocial model is currently the paradigm from which all health care professionals are expected to manage patients with musculoskeletal conditions. Physical therapists are now expected to recognize pain associated psychosocial distress (i.e. yellow flags) and to modify their treatment approach accordingly. However, a gap exists between learning how to identify pain associated psychosocial distress in patients, and being competent to apply treatment required to effectively manage these patients. Physical therapists will need to embrace this psychosocial component by providing the opportunity for: 1) training in the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which has been shown to be an effective treatment for many chronic musculoskeletal conditions and 2) refinement of psychological informed treatment approaches to decrease the likelihood patients will experience continued disability due to musculoskeletal pain. This 1-day course describes a psychological informed intervention program that offers: 1) a condensed and focused summary of CBT principles with basic training for specific communication skills and 2) examples of key activity modification approaches.  The main components of the course include theory, clinical application, and adherence.  Participant feedback will be used to highlight the strengths and limitations of this course, allowing for modification for dissemination to future physical therapy audiences.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

    1. Summarize relationships between pain neuroscience, pain models, and the development and maintenance of chronic LBP
    2. Implement psychologically informed physical therapy practice principles for patients with LBP
    3. Identify patients at high risk for transitioning from acute to chronic LBP
    4. Apply targeted treatment for patients at high risk for transitioning from acute to chronic LBP

Continuing Education Units

Direct Access CEUs : 0

General Access CEUs: 6.5

Total CEUs: 6.5

About the Speakers:

Jason Beneciuk, PT, PhD, MPH
Jason Beneciuk is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Florida. He is also an investigator as part of the Brooks Rehabilitation – University of Florida, College of Public Health and Health Professions Research Collaboration. He also serves as a faculty member in the Brooks Institute of Higher Learning where his primary responsibilities are as a scholarly mentor for residents and fellows-in-training. Dr. Beneciuk received his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in 2002 where he also completed an Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship in 2006. He received his Master of Public Health (with an epidemiology concentration) and PhD in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Florida in 2011 where he was supported by a National Institutes of Health T32 pre-doctoral fellowship. His research has primarily focused on psychosocial screening and risk stratification for low back pain in physical therapy settings. Dr. Beneciuk is currently a K12 scholar in the Rehabilitation Research Career Development Program.


Steven George, PT, PhD

Steven George is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Florida.  Dr. George also serves as the Director for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program and the Brooks-PHHP Research Collaboration.  Dr. George received his Bachelor of Science from West Virginia University in 1994 and Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy from University of Pittsburgh in 1997 and 2002. His primary research interests involve the utilization of biopsychosocial models for the prevention and treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Dr. George’s research projects have been supported by awards from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, University of Florida, and Foundation for Physical Therapy. Dr. George’s current research projects include: 1) Developing and testing behavioral interventions for patients with low back pain; 2) Investigating the interaction between pain related genetic and psychological factors in the development of post-operative chronic shoulder pain; and 3) Investigating the mechanisms and efficacy of manual therapy for experimental pain sensitivity. With doctoral students and collaborators, Dr. George has authored over 150 peer-reviewed publications in physical therapy, rehabilitation, orthopedic, and pain research journals. He currently serves as an Editorial Board Member for Physical Therapy and an International Editorial Review Board Member for Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. Finally, Dr. George has been an invited speaker at many national and international conferences and recognized with prestigious early career research awards from the American Physical Therapy Association, American Pain Society, and International Association for the Study of Pain.


Carol M. Greco, PhD

Carol Greco is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She received a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia, and completed undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan with a BA in Psychology and Anthropology. She is a licensed psychologist and researcher specializing in pain and chronic illness, and has over 20 years of clinical, teaching, and research experience with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and related approaches. Dr. Greco worked for approximately 10 years with two internationally known leaders in the field of CBT and biopsychosocial interventions for pain, Drs Dennis Turk and Thomas E. Rudy. Dr Greco has developed and tested CBT and integrative medicine interventions for persons with chronic back pain, systemic lupus erythematosus, and temporomandibular disorders. She is currently principal investigator on two large NIH-funded projects and a PCORI methodology study. Her areas of research include randomized controlled trials of mind-body interventions for persons with chronic pain and chronic illness, evaluating associations of psychosocial factors with chronic pain and disability, and patient-reported assessments of the healing context in treatment.






January 21, 2016 |