Ulysses: the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary cognitive behavioural pain management programme—an 8-year review



To characterise a cohort of patients with chronic pain registered to the Ulysses cognitive behavioural pain management programme (CBT-PMP) and to evaluate the effectiveness of the CBT-PMP 6 months post-discharge.


A review of patients referred to the Ulysses CBT-PMP from 2002 to 2010 was undertaken. The profile of patients was established. Domains measured included pain, physical and psychological function. Relationships between these factors were explored. Clinically significant changes in outcome measures were established at the 6-month follow-up.


In total 553 patients registered to the CBT-PMP, pre–post data were available for 91 % of patients and 52 % at 6 months. The majority of patients were female and aged between 40 and 50 years. Most patients had significant psychological morbidity (76 % depression, 84.5 % anxiety), moderate reports of pain [numerical rating scale, mean (SD) 6.0 (2.2)], and low levels of functional activity. At 6 months follow-up, statistically significant positive findings for physical and psychological outcome measures are supplemented by results showing their clinical significance. With regard to psychological function, a clinically significant change (depending on outcome measure) was shown between 1 in 2 and 1 in 10 patients. Improvements in physical function were lower with rates of 1 in 4 to 1 in 14 reporting significant gains.


The effectiveness of the Ulysses CBT-PMP is established with measures of clinically significant change for physical and psychological outcomes contributing to the evidence for this novel approach of analysis. Future research determining benchmarks for CBT-PMP outcomes will assist clinicians in monitoring and enhancing patient’s progress in clinical practice.

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Ms Catherine Paisley, Pain Service, Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin 24.

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Correspondence to B. M. Fullen.

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Fullen, B.M., Blake, C., Horan, S. et al. Ulysses: the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary cognitive behavioural pain management programme—an 8-year review. Ir J Med Sci 183, 265–275 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-013-1002-2

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  • Cognitive behavioural pain management programme
  • Clinical significant changes
  • Chronic pain