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Highly Accessed Editorial

Beyond cognitive-behavioral therapy for fibromyalgia: addressing stress by emotional exposure, processing, and resolution

Mark A Lumley

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011, 13:136  doi:10.1186/ar3511

Published: 1 December 2011

Abstract

I comment on the well-designed trial by Alda and colleagues reported in a recent issue of Arthritis Research and Therapy which demonstrated some benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for fibromyalgia (FM). CBT in this and other studies provides statistically significant but rather modest benefits for FM. This may be because CBT does not directly address the high rates of victimization, post-traumatic stress disorder, and emotional avoidance experienced by a substantial number of patients with FM. Interventions that encourage emotional exposure, processing, and resolution of stressful or traumatic experiences and relationships hold potential for larger effects for many patients and need to be tested.