Parent Group

*Training and support group for parents of children coping with pain and health conditions*


When your child suffers, you suffer.


The most effective treatment for pediatric pain and illness is biopsychosocial. This means that the best way to help your child is to target not only the biological underpinnings of her illness, but also her psychological and social functioning. 


Research shows that the inclusion of parents in treatment yields better outcomes for children with pain and health issues (1, 5). Parent use of CBT techniques to respond to their child's pain is associated with decreased pain severity, decreased functional disability at home and school, and fewer physical symptoms (2, 3, 4). In fact, without appropriate parent support, it's harder for children to make steady gains. Thus, parents are a critical part of the treatment process.


Parents of children with pain and illness also experience significant and understandable stress and worry. Social support is a critical coping strategy for parents dealing with this kind of pressure, who often feel isolated and alone. Using coping skills ultimately helps your child, because when parents are more empowered and less stressed, so are their kids!


This parent training-and-support group is specifically designed to benefit parents of youths with pain and health conditions, including migraines and headaches, abdominal pain, post-concussion syndrome, amplified pain, and autoimmune diseases. This is a unique and invaluable opportunity to connect with other caregivers struggling with similar issues, get much-deserved support, and learn CBT-based "coping tools" that will help your child thrive. These groups are facilitated by Dr. Zoffness. Key issues addressed include:

  • School and academics (504 Plans & IEPs)
  • Anxiety around pain/illness episodes
  • Impact of pain/illness on family functioning
  • Sleep issues
  • Effective coping strategies
  • Helping your child get out of bed and return to life.

Groups will meet one night per week (TBD) from 5:30-6:30pm for approx 8 weeks. Specific session length and content will be determined by group size, participants’ needs, and questions.


Space is very limited. Parents are welcome to apply on the contact page. More information about structure and dates are provided upon acceptance.




References and further reading:

1. Coakley R. & Wihak T. Evidence-Based Psychological Interventions for the Management of Pediatric Chronic Pain: New Directions in Research and Clinical Practice. Children 2017, 4, 9. 

2. Eccleston, C.; Crombez, G.; Scotford, A.; Clinch, J.; Connell, H. Adolescent chronic pain: Patterns and predictors of emotional distress in adolescents with chronic pain and their parents. Pain 2004, 108, 221–229.

3. Eccleston, C.; Palermo, T.M.; Fisher, E.; Law, E. Psychological interventions for parents of children and adolescents with chronic illness. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2015, 51, 1036–1038.

4. Claar, R.L.; Simons, L.E.; Logan, D.E. Parental response to children’s pain: The moderating impact of children’s emotional distress on symptoms and disability. Pain 2008, 138, 172–179.

5. Simons, L. E., Goubert, L., Vervoort, T., Borsook, D. Circles of engagement: Childhood pain and parent brain. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 2016; 68: 537-546.