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Helping adolescents and their parents or caregivers learn strategies to better manage chronic pain.

Talking Gut: Ep 19 Dr Rachael Coakley on Paediatric Pain Management and The Comfort Ability Program

October 30, 2020

Dr Rachael Coakley, Ph.D., is the Director of Clinical Innovation and Outreach in Pain Medicine in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is also an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Coakley specializes in teaching children, adolescents and parents effective strategies to cope with pediatric chronic pain and pain-related stress using relaxation, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral skills.

She has published numerous articles and chapters on pediatric pain management and related topics and has presented at national and international conferences.

Dr. Coakley founded The Comfort Ability in 2011 and directs the implementation at Boston Children’s Hospital. Since its implementation, the program reach has grown to not only other states in the US, but also other countries, including Australia.

For her work with The Comfort Ability program she was granted the 2016 David Weiner Award for Innovation in Child Health.

Dr. Coakley has also published a book, titled “When Your Child Hurts: Effective Strategies to Increase Comfort, Reduce Stress and Break the Cycle of Chronic Pain” (Yale University Press), which won a 2016 National Parenting Products Award (NAPPA).

So what is the Comfort Ability?


The Comfort Ability is a fun and interactive one-day program to help adolescents and their parents or caregivers learn how to better manage chronic pain. The program teaches how pain functions in the body and introduces cognitive behavioral and biobehavioral pain management strategies. The Comfort Ability emphasizes the mind-body connection and offers non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical strategies for improved pain management.


I hope you enjoy my interview with Dr Rachael Coakley.