Aims: To test the feasibility and acceptability of a customized six-session cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) group intervention for adults with recurrent trigeminal neuralgia (TN).
Keywords: cognitive behavioral therapy, facial pain, fear, pain management, multidisciplinary, patient satisfaction, quality of life, trigeminal neuralgia
Methods: Fifteen participants with TN were recruited from a specialist facial pain unit in London, United Kingdom. The effects of the group intervention were evaluated using validated self-report measures, which the participants completed before and after the intervention and at 1-month and 9-month follow-ups. A semi-structured interview was also used at the 1-year follow-up to gather qualitative feedback of the group intervention.
Results: Participants reported an increase in confidence in managing everyday tasks in the presence of TN symptoms, a reduction in negative beliefs about pain, and an increase in engagement in meaningful activity. All patients completed the group intervention (100% retention rate). Qualitative feedback highlighted that the group CBT intervention was helpful, and no participants reported a worsening of mood or experience as a result of the intervention.
Conclusion: The trends for improvement in several domains, plus the positive experiences of the participants, suggest that a CBT management program is acceptable and feasible for this population and should be further developed and implemented on a larger scale to determine its clinical efficacy.