Dr. Kieran O'Sullivan: Cognitive Functional Therapy for Back Pain

CFT is an approach to the management of pain disorders that considers factors across the biopsychosocial spectrum that contribute to the development and maintenance of a pain disorder. It provides a logical framework allowing skilled clinicians to both diagnose, triage, and target management where appropriate. CFT integrates cognitive strategies and functional movement rehabilitation to reduce pain and disability. There is emerging evidence that the CFT approach provides better clinical outcomes than the current best clinical practice in the management of non-specific chronic spinal pain.

This multi-stage blended workshop is dynamic, interactive, and patient-focussed. In addition to three live sessions (9 hours) in October and November, participants will have access to 8 hours of high-quality online learning - including videos, podcasts and interviews. It is proposed that students first go through the ‘green’ material ahead of the first live session, and then the ‘yellow’ material for the 2nd live session. 

The final live workshop is unique in that it involves a live patient assessment, using a clinical reasoning checklist, followed by detailed debrief and clinical reasoning among the group.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this programme, participants will be able to;

-      Apply contemporary pain mechanisms evidence to individual people with LBP

-      Appreciate how diversity within the population of people with LBP can be managed flexibly, yet consistently

-      Apply, and clinically reason using, the CFT framework

-      Develop communication skills acquired to deal with complex pain problems

-      Develop competency in designing cognitive, movement and lifestyle components to rehabilitation


Who is the teacher?

Kieran O'Sullivan is one of the international researchers who worked intensively together with Prof. Peter O’Sullivan to develop the ‘Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT) intervention. He is an Associate Professor in Physiotherapy at the University of Limerick, Ireland. He completed his PhD on low back pain in 2012. He has published over 170 journal articles, including two randomised clinical trials on low back pain. He was awarded the 2021 President’s award for research excellence and impact at UL. His research on LBP was chosen as an exemplar of research impact. He is currently involved in several research projects relating to musculoskeletal pain, nationally and internationally.


Points have been requested for Kwaliteitshuis Fysiotherapie (KRF-NL en Keurmerk) en Pro-Q-Kine.

Course planning

  • 19:00 - 21:00: Introduction Session

  • 19:00 - 21:00: Discussion and lecture

  • 10:00 - 15:00: Live session with Patient


There are no courses planned at the moment.
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