Chronic pain affects millions of Australians and is the leading cause of disability globally. Frequently however, chronic pain is underdiagnosed and undertreated. In this pilot randomised controlled trial, we are investigating a co-designed, internet delivered mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (iMBCT) for chronic pain program to overcome these access barriers.

From the inception of this research, we have adopted a community-based participatory research framework, which is a patient-centred and community driven approach that is well suited to treatment adaptation to improve access and uptake. Consumers and consumer representatives – including our partner, Chronic Pain Australia – are the grassroots voices that have shaped the development of this iMBCT program. In this trial, participants will be randomised to iMBCT or a delayed treatment control for process evaluation, and to determine the preliminary efficacy of iMBCT for reducing pain intensity (primary outcome) and improving quality of life indicators (secondary outcomes). We will also examine potential mediators and moderators underlying the expected improvements in pain-related outcomes.

What is involved?

Participation in this study will last approximately 1.5 months.

This study is time-intensive, so participants should enrol only if they think you can make the time commitment to finish the study. If they decide to enrol in the study, they would then be asked to complete an initial, pre-treatment intake assessment. The initial baseline assessment would last about 1 hour, depending on their answers. Participants will then be assigned randomly to either immediately receive the 4-week online pain management program, or a delayed treatment control condition where they will continue their usual treatment for chronic pain. Then, following completion of the assessments, they will be offered the 4-week online pain management program. After 2-weeks and 4-weeks, participants will also be asked to complete a brief, 30-minute online questionnaire. They will be emailed by study staff with links to these questionnaires. If they were randomly assigned to the online treatment program, they will also be invited to meet with study staff via Zoom to be asked some questions about their experiences with the treatment, which will be audio-recorded. If they were randomised to the delayed treatment condition, following the 4-week follow-up assessment they will be invited to complete the program.


Inclusion criteria include:

  • At least 18 years
  • Chronic pain (3 months or more, with pain experienced on at least 50% of days)
  • Average intensity of pain 4 or higher on a 11-point NRS for most days of the previous 3 months
  • Able to read, speak, and understand English to comprehend the worksheets, measures and intervention implemented
  • If currently taking analgesic or psychotropic medication, they must have been stabilized for at least 4 weeks prior to this study
  • Availability of a telephone, computer/laptop/tablet, and daily internet access and;
  • Living in Australia at the time of study participation.

Exclusion criteria include:

  • Severe cognitive impairment, as evidenced by two or more error(s) on the Six-Item Screener
  • Current alcohol or substance dependence
  • Uncontrolled schizophrenia or bipolar affective disorder
  • Chronic pain due to malignancy (e.g., cancer) or autoimmune disorders (e.g., lupus), headache as the primary source of pain, or a pain condition for which surgery is recommended and/or planned and;
  • Currently receiving other psychosocial treatments for any pain condition (as this may influence the treatment results).

Participant benefits

Participants will be reimbursed with $20 gift cards for completing the pre- and post-treatment assessments, and a $10 gift card for the brief mid-point assessment. Some participants will also be invited to complete a qualitative interview at the end of treatment, and they will be reimbursed with a further $10 gift card. Treatment will be freely provided.

Register your interest 

To register your interest email:

This study has been approved by The University of Queensland Human Research Ethics Committee [Approval No.2022/HE002172]