PEP010: Pain Assessment & Intervention

– 45 Hours of CE Credit / Course Fee $750

Presented by Richard A. Sherman, Ph.D.

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Richard A. Sherman

Richard A. Sherman

M.S., Ph.D. (Program Director)

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Course Concept and Objectives:

Students learn by watching audiovisual lectures and movies provided on the course web site, reading assignments both from materials provided on the web site,  and standard texts, and interacting with their instructor via e-mail. They answer short essay questions after each lecture rather than taking exams. Previous students have found that this course takes between 45 and 95 hours of work to perform.

Pain is among the most common reasons patients approach the health care community and is, tragically, among the least successfully managed problems. The assessment and management of acute and chronic pain are fraught with ignorance, poor training, difficulties, complexities, and controversies all of which combine to produce pervasive misdiagnoses and ludicrously improper, ineffective care. Thus, patients with both acute and chronic pain frequently receive poor care from the medical community and are left to fend for themselves as best they can in the world of rumor, self-medication, and charlatans.

It is the objective of this course to provide you with the information you need to understand the underlying problems, be able to perform a reasonable assessment of patients with chronic and acute pain both on and off the ward, recognize when pain is not being appropriately or adequately ameliorated, and to be able to make or recommend interventions consistent with your clinical skills. Specifically, this course intends to:

1. Provide you with a basic understanding of the physiology, biochemistry, and psychology underlying pain mechanisms.

2. Provide you with sufficient knowledge about how pain mechanisms work to apply the knowledge to their evaluative and therapeutic interventions.

3.  Give detailed information about several pain syndromes (including headache, RSD, low back pain, and phantom limb pain) so you will be abreast of current knowledge and be aware that similar depths of knowledge exist for most pain syndromes and must be searched out before attempting to evaluate or treat people with the problem.

4. Summarize the strengths and weaknesses of  evidence supporting the efficacy of self-regulatory interventions for prevention and reduction of  various pain problems.

5. Provide extensive examples of how to perform evaluations and non-pharmacological interventions.

DISCLAIMER: Completion of this continuing education course is strictly for educational / informational purposes and does not imply competency, proficiency, and/or experience. The course completion certificate is not a clinical certification nor a license to practice. 

How we are going to proceed through the course:

This home study course is divided into 31 units. Each unit consists of a recorded audiovisual lecture, one of more chapters of reading in the texts, review questions to be answered, and a discussion with me. The lecture portion of the course is presented through a series of audiovisual lectures profusely illustrated by power-point slides as well as eleven movies. There isn’t enough lecture time to cover all of the practices – especially those related to pharmacology – so your reading will be very important. When you sign up for the course, you will be given immediate access to the course web site which contains the audiovisual lectures, movies, and background text files.

After each lecture, you will answer a brief series of essay questions about each topic covered during the lecture, e-mail your answers to me, and then speak with me by phone or exchange e-mails about each topic. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions and for me to fill in gray areas and provide additional information on topics of special interest to you.

Accessing course materials:

All course materials are available on the course web site. When you purchase the course, you will be given instructions for accessing the course web site immediately.

Computer and Computer Knowledge Requirements:

Anybody with a modern computer and a bit of basic understanding of computer operation (at the level of being able to send e-mails) can play this course with minimal problems. You must have a computer (a) capable of connecting to the internet and running a typical internet program, (b) containing/running a modern word processor such as Microsoft word or Word Perfect, (c) the capability to play sounds such as music (has speakers and appropriate software which normally come with any modern computer), and (d) a slide viewing program such as Power Point (you can probably get a slide viewing program free off the internet if you don’t have one). Any modern (e.g., built within the last ten years), IBM style computer running Windows 98 and more recent platforms (e.g., XP or Windows 8) should be able to do this. Speed, hard disk size, and RAM are not factors for computers in the above category.

Dozens of students have used recent Apple products (MACs etc.) for the course however they frequently have more difficulty playing the course materials than PC users do.

If you are using a MAC type of computer, you must have a current version of “quicktime”. If you do not have it, you can download it for free from the web

Required Text:

(Cost of the text is not included in the course fee)

Sherman, R: Pain Assessment and Intervention from a Psychophysiological Perspective. Published by the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) in 2004. Can be purchased on our web site

Very Close to Required but you can get away without them:

1. Pain: A textbook for Therapists. Edited by Jenny Strong, Anita Unruh, Anthony Wright, G. Baxter. Published by Churchill Livingstone of NY. 2002. ISBN 0-443-05978-0.

2.  Turk, D, Melzack R: Handbook of Pain Assessment; Second Edition. Guilford Press of NY. 2001. ISBN 1-57230-488X.

Optional Reading:

  1. Wolf’s Headache and other head pain – 7th edition. Edited by Stephen Silberstein, Richard Lipton and Donald Dalessio. Oxford University Press of NY 2001. ISBN 0-19-513518-0.
  2. Mark Schwartz et al: Biofeedback: A Practitioner’s guide. Guilford Press of New York, 2003.


 The course is given by Dr. Richard Sherman, Ph.D.  He is certified by BCIA, approved by BCIA to teach the general biofeedback certification course, and currently teaches A&P, Pelvic floor disorders, pain, and other courses. He is a professional psychophysiologist with extensive training (his Ph.D. is in biology & psychology), has nearly 30 years of experience in the field, and has published over 130 books, chapters, and articles (mostly in peer reviewed journals). Dr. Sherman is Director of the psychophysiology doctoral specialization at Saybrook University and has held many positions within the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback including president. Full CV available upon request and on the course web site.

Lectures and their associated reading:

You should do the assigned reading either before or “attending” the lectures.

1. Background and basic concepts (Sherman Section A, view the “introduction to biofeedback” lecture and read the biofeedback chapter files; optional Strong 1)

2. Determining credibility of techniques (Sherman Section H, optional Turk 31 – 34)

3. Stress – pain relationships, psychological factors (Sherman 1, 4, optional Strong 4 – 6, 22, optional Turk 1 – 10)

4. Physiological bases of pain 1: Human electricity & signal generation

5. Physiological bases of pain 2: Development and organization of the nervous system (Sherman 2, optional Strong 2 & 3 (and 4 – 6 if you haven’t read them)

6. Physiological bases of pain 3: Effect of organization of the nervous system on pain processing including referred pain & genetics (Sherman 2)

7. Physiological bases of pain 4: Muscles (Sherman 1 – 6, 7 – 12, Strong 17)

8. Psychophysiological recording 1: Introduction (Sherman 26 – 33)

9. Psychophysiological recording 2: Instrumentation (Sherman 26 – 33)

10. Psychophysiological recording 3: Muscle tension (Sherman 8)

11. Psychophysiological recording 4: Respiration, heart rate (Sherman 26 – 33)

12. Psychophysiological recording 5: Blood flow, EEG, safety (Sherman 13 – 15, 31)

13. Headache causes (Sherman 20; optional Turk 11, 24 – 26)

14. Low back pain causes and trigger points (Sherman 7 – 12, 19, 21; optional Turk 23)

15 – 17. Pelvic pain causes 1 – 3

18. Phantom pain Causes (Sherman 22; optional Turk 27, 28; optional Strong 18)

19. Chest, abdominal, fibromyalgia causes plus complex patient assessment (Sherman 23 – 25; optional Turk 30)

20. Psychophysiologically oriented assessment and tracking techniques including profiles (Sherman 16 – 24; optional Strong 7; optional Turk 15 – 22, 29, 30)

21. Norms and habituation in psychophysiology (Sherman 32)

22. Intervention 1: Basic concepts, surgical and physical interventions (Sherman 26, 48, 49; optional Turk 12; optional Strong 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 20, 21)

23 & 24. Interventions 2 & 3: Alternative medicine interventions (Sherman 51, 52; optional Strong 12)

25 – 27. Interventions 4 – 6: Behavioral medicine interventions including biofeedback (Sherman 36 – 47; optional Strong 9, 14, 15)

28. Interventions 7: Pharmacological intervention (Sherman 50; optional Strong 16, 50)

29 and 30. Ethics (read the text files DPC ethics BCIA, DPC Belmont report, & DPC patient handouts and consents)

31. Practice cases, anticipated success rates, and conclusion (Sherman section I) 

When all requirements have been successfully completed, your course completion certificate will be e-mailed to you and BCIA will be informed that you completed the course.

Administrative Information


You can start the course whenever wish to within six months of the purchase date and work at your own pace as long as you complete the course within one year of purchase. Just contact us at or (800) 530-6658 to get started.

Duration of course validity:

You must begin the course within six months of the purchase date and complete it within one year of the purchase date. Courses not completed by that time are void and must be repurchased if still available. No refunds are provided for courses not completed within one year of purchase.

CE Credit:

The Behavioral Medicine R&T Foundation is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Foundation maintains responsibility for this program and its content.


This course is accepted by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance for recertification continuing education.

Payment, Refund, Scholarship, and cancellation policies:  

Full payment for each course is required before access to the course is provided. Payment is by credit card though our web site’s secure ordering section or by check in US dollars made out to the Foundation and sent to the address below. Full refund will be made until students are given access to the course materials. After getting access to the course materials there is no refund at all as the Foundation has committed its resources to you and you have access to all of the course materials. A course would only be cancelled due to an extreme emergency on the part of the course instructor or the Foundation. In the highly unlikely event a course is cancelled, you would receive a full refund.


The Foundation gives scholarships consisting of 25% off the cost of the course(s) to (a) students and professionals (e.g. clinicians, coaches, teachers) from emerging nations and (b) full time graduate students in developed nations.

Course updates:

Updates to all courses are placed on the course web site as they are made. Students are informed when updates are available. 

Questions / further information?

Contact Dr. Richard Sherman (director of the psychophysiology CE and doctoral programs) at or (360) 452-5020.