28-Jan-2021 8:00 AM - 29-Jan-2021 4:00 PM - Online (Eastern Time)

Complex pain and the role of occupational therapy

Online Workshop

Thursday, January 28 & Friday, January 29, 2021  
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

The need to address the impact of complex pain on the lives of clients has become increasingly evident over the past several years in light of the opioid crisis and a recognition that many clients are living with pain that is not physical in nature. The complex overlap of physical and mental health as well as trauma and activation, positions occupational therapists as key potential players in addressing this issue that is creating a great cost to clients and our community. 

This 2-day, online workshop will review the biopsychosocial aspects of complex pain and the importance of using a holistic occupation-based approach when working with clients living with complex pain. Specific biopsychosocial strategies will be identified and discussed.   The delivery of pain-related client education will be reviewed, along with the benefits of group versus individual approaches, the role of trauma, and potential models for pulling therapeutic approaches together. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as an essential component of pain management will be discussed. Lecture, self-reflection and hands-on practice opportunities will be utilized throughout the workshop.

Preliminary Workshop Agenda:
Day 1

8:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Introduction: Overview of biopsychosocial approach to persistent pain

10:00 - 10:15 a.m.

Morning break 

10:15 - 10:45 a.m.

Step 1: Education

10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Step 2: Wind down: Affective management

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.


1:00 - 2:15 p.m.

Addressing trauma

2:15 - 2:30 p.m.

Afternoon break

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Distress tolerance

3:30 - 4:00 p.m.


Evening (on your own)

Homework: Wind down practice

Day 2

8:00 - 8:30 a.m.

Review of Day 1 and homework

8:30 - 10:15 a.m.

Step 3: Reframing: Cognitive behavioural therapy

10:15 - 10:30 a.m.

Morning break 

10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Step 3: Reframing: Cognitive behavioural therapy (continued)

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.


1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

Step 4: Pacing, activity & goal setting

2:30 - 2:45 p.m.

Afternoon break

2:45 - 3:30 p.m.

Group and individual treatment plans

Working in an interprofessional team 

3:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Synthesis and wrap up

Learning objectives:

By the end of this workshop, you will:

  1. Understand the biopsychosocial aspects of complex pain.
  2. Be able to assess and address activity and pacing when working with clients living with complex pain.
  3. Be able to assess and address physical modalities when working with clients living with complex pain.
  4. Be able to assess and address cognitive behavioural aspects when working with clients living with complex pain.
  5. Be able to assess and address physiologic and affective responses when working with clients living with complex pain.

Target audience:

Occupational therapist clinicians, students in occupational therapy programs and other health professionals who want to increase their familiarity with and confidence in supporting clients living with complex pain in all areas of practice.

Please note: Each participant is responsible to ensure they apply the information within the context of their licensure, provincial/territorial legislations, institution regulations, scope of practice, etc.

Workshop level:

Beginner (0-2 years of experience in this specific practice area)


Lisa Diamond-Burchuk, OT Reg. (M.B.) 

Lisa graduated as an occupational therapist in 1989 from the University of Manitoba and completed her Masters in Occupational Therapy degree in 2017. She has practiced in Manitoba (primarily) and British Columbia in home, acute care, long term rehabilitation, personal care homes, school and private practice settings; both in rural and urban communities. She has worked with all ages in a wide variety of practice areas and clinical settings. Lisa has developed a passion for the role of occupational therapy in primary care and wants to spread the word about all of the skills in the occupational therapist’s toolbox which enable occupational therapists to support individuals and communities. She teaches skills and approaches such as motivational interviewing, dialectical behaviour therapy (mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness), cognitive behavioural therapy, coping skills, behavioral activation, complex pain management, cultural safety, harm reduction, self-management, and effective goal setting. Lisa has been an instructor at the University of Manitoba for 15 years and provides occupational therapy services at Northern Connections Medical Centre; a primary care clinic serving clients from northern remote communities and members of other underserved individuals and groups. She has also supported the development of emerging community roles through fieldwork and is the founder and chair of the Manitoba Primary Health Care Community of Practice.

Registration fees:

Early bird rates: Registration and payment completed by November 4, 2020

CAOT Member and Associates

Non member*



Plus applicable taxes

Regular rates: Registration and payment completed between November 5, 2020 and January 13, 2021 

CAOT Member and Associates

Non member*



Registration deadline: January 13, 2021

*When available, CAOT offers late registration for workshops at the regular rate plus a $50 administration fee.  We will only be able to accommodate if there is sufficient space.

Included in your registration fee:

Two-day workshop, electronic copy of presentation slide handouts, opportunity to network and make connections with other occupational therapists interested in this topic, electronic certificate of attendance

Maximum number of registrants:   

Cancellation/refund policy:

All cancellation/refund requests must be sent in writing to education@caot.ca. All cancellation requests received prior to January 13, 2021 will be given a full refund minus a $50.00 administrative fee. All cancellation/refund requests after January 13, 2021 will be given a 50% refund. Substitutions are permitted, subject to a $50.00 administrative fee. . 

CAOT reserves the right to modify the workshop title, description, registration dates and information on the workshop webpage. CAOT will notify participants on or December 18, 2020  if there is insufficient registration by that date and reserves the right to cancel a Workshop due to insufficient registration up until January 8, 2021. CAOT reserves the right to modify the offering, interrupt Workshops, change the timing of a Workshop, cancel a Workshop or change the location of a Workshop due to the presenter no longer being able to present the Workshop, severe weather, power failure, building closures or other special circumstances that are beyond the control of CAOT by notifying participants as soon as possible. If the Workshop is cancelled by CAOT, registrants will receive a full refund of the registration fee. CAOT will not be responsible for other costs or expenses incurred by registrants as a result of any such changes.

Additional questions? 
If you would like to inquire on accessibility options available to you, please contact education@caot.ca or 1-800-434-2268 ext. 222.  

We invite you to consult the Workshop FAQ for an immediate response to the most frequent questions we receive regarding Workshops. Please do not hesitate to contact us at education@caot.ca or 1-800-434-2268 ext. 222 should you have additional questions or concerns.

Copyright 2016 Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
powered by in1touch
100-34 Colonnade Road
Ottawa, ON K2E 7J6 Canada