Phase 3 Clinical Trial SDR Therapy for Chronic Pain


COVID played havoc with an earlier plan to run a face-to-face clinical study as a much bigger replication of two earlier, very successful studies. We hoped that an online program, supported by webinars and a closed, private Facebook group, might at least approximate that experience and bring relief to more people.

But several issues became apparent quite soon. One was that an online program, even free, was not at all popular – we struggled to get participants. We also found that people were reluctant to debrief what they were doing so that we could support what they were doing and make sure they were using the strategies effectively. Where people did reach out for support, we found that in almost every case they were not using the strategies as they were being taught. This is not the fault of the participants – the strategies are very new and although they look simple they are so different to what has been done before that intensive support is critical.

For people to get results, we had to work with them one-on-one on a regular basis – a highly personal and time intensive process, that was not replicable or even possible across many people in many different countries.

We will in the future run more trials, but these will by necessity be face to face in localised regions as we are able to train psychologists in the methodology.

In the meantime, we hope the following is useful …


We have a short free program available for patients at (there is a free support group for this on Facebook), and there is also a book which you may be interested in, “Treat Your Own Chronic Pain: The Chronic Pain Bible for Doctors, Psychologists, and Clients”, available on Amazon in a variety of formats, in most countries.

The majority of chronic pain presentations can be characterised as non-malignant pain that doesn’t have sufficient pathological explanation. There may be issues, but they don’t fully explain the pain. This type of pain almost invariably has two factors:

  • The nervous system, for any number of reasons, has become hypersensitive. Here we must identify stress and lifestyle factors which work against a return to normal function. This means reducing excitement as well as reducing stress, improving sleep, activity levels, socialisation, etc, to give time and space for the whole system to move back to homeostasis. Once the pain has gone, all of this is not so important, but it’s critical in the recovery phase.
  • There will usually be a number of triggers which cause or maintain pain states and these can be quite correctly viewed as conditioned responses. Conditioned responses can be rapidly eliminated using SDR Therapy disruption strategies, primarily NeuroStim, Overlay, Disruption Triangle, and specific technique from Logotherapy.

There can be considerable overlay between these two types of issues, some of which can be readily resolved through SDR Therapy, and some of which simply require expert support and problem solving.

Things that we know don’t work are CBT, mindfulness, and specific exercise programs. Having the support of an empathetic therapist, and finding a way to stay active that you actually enjoy, are things that definitely do help at least somewhat, even without SDR Therapy.

While we plan our next live clinical trial, hopefully for early 2023, our focus will be on reaching out to psychologists around the world in order to comprehensively train them in SDR Therapy, so that this very important advance in chronic pain treatment becomes as widely available as possible.

I hope that you can get some good pain relief.

Christine Sutherland

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