SDR Therapy for Non-malignant Chronic Pain Without Adequate Explanatory Pathology

Early in the development of COVID-19 we decided we would not go ahead with a live trial that might risk our participants, but would instead run the trial remotely. That turned out to be a very good decision in light of the subsequent lockdowns.

It also provided benefits in above and beyond staying safe: we no longer had to limit numbers to 50 only, and geographic location of participants was likewise no longer limited.

So we are currently accepting applications, as the video below explains.

Trial Information and Downloads Including Referral Form

You can find full information on the trial, including inclusion and exclusion criteria, methodology, and doctor referral form at

Our Previous Chronic Pain Trials

Our two previous trials on SDR Therapy for chronic pain were run in the late 1990s/early 2000s and were quite small, only 8 participants in each. It seems quite incredible looking back that such a long time has passed in the interim.

These two trials produced remarkable outcomes. We decided to rate efficacy only for participants who achieved better than 50% reduction of their pain levels. In fact more than 60% of participants eliminated their pain completely or all but completely, and a further +25% reduced their pain by more than half, with results maintained at 2-year follow up. The two trials achieved 85% and 100% efficacy respectively. We wrote up only the lesser trial as 100% would be met with derision.

Historical Background

Back at this time neither trial (or our other two trials: moderate-to-severe clinical depression, and academic and behavioural performance in at-risk children) raised any interest and our hypothesis that most cases of chronic pain were caused by conditioned pain signalling was outright rejected. Classical conditioning was very much out of favour and we were called “reductionist” and “mechanistic” among other things.

So for many years between 2003 and 2017 we simply focussed on clinical work, as well as consulting to the corporate and military sectors because we weren’t able to get traction for our findings.

However the world of research has moved on around us and we now find ourselves in some very good company indeed. More and more scientists are describing these forms of chronic pain (which are the majority of cases) as a “brain” problem, or even a “memory” problem, while others continue to work to very much differentiate nociceptive pain vs chronic pain as two almost unrelated issues, and some therapies are beginning to emerge that in effect (though inadvertently) disrupt the reconsolidation phase of the conditioned response.

However these new therapies apply principles which are not founded on science but on unproven (or even debunked) concepts. All kinds of reasons are proffered for why a small percentage of people improve their symptoms, or why a significant number of people improve slightly, but when we examine those theories we find them flawed to greater or lesser degrees, and of course when a theory is flawed, the strategy is usually also flawed, and therefore the outcomes tend to be weak or modest, and often not achieved at all because of the lack of reliability of the flawed strategy.

So SDR Therapy, even after more than 20 years from its genesis, still remains at the cutting edge of psychological practice. But we hope that is not the case for much longer, and that this larger trial will at least lead to a core of researchers and therapists learning and mastering its use, so that many more people enjoy much more satisfying outcomes from their sessions.