About this event

  • Date and time Fri 17 May 2019 from 9:00am to 5:00pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Pain Medicine

Although healthcare professionals are taught communication skills, little emphasis is put on how explanations are given. A plausible clear explanation is of special importance for patients who have chronic pain which is invisible, subjective and poorly understood.

Through the use of a multidisciplinary team, participants will have the opportunity to enhance their skills at providing meaningful explanations to their patients.

This event will start with a patient describing her experience of obtaining an explanation, and its impact on her ability to manage pain.

A Professor of Linguistics, Professor Elena Semino, will demonstrate the importance of words and metaphors to provide explanations, this will be complimented by Professor Peter Salmon, a health psychologist who works in the field of medically unexplained symptoms.

The distinguished and highly respected Professor Lorimer Mosley, an Australian physiotherapist whose explanation of chronic pain on YouTube and in TED talks are appreciated by thousands of viewers.

Delegates will also be introduced to Dr Deborah Padfield, a Visual Artist who will be showing her film “Pain under a microscope”, which is a culmination of over 10 years worth of work with pain patients. Some of the images created during the project will be used by Pain Medicine Physician, Professor Joanna Zakrzewskato, to illustrate the impact of pain management courses.

To finalise the event Ms Rachel Stovell, Senior Physiotherapist, will facilitate group work to ensure all delegates leave with the tools needed to provide an explanation of chronic pain in a personalised way.

Topics include:

  • Stimulate creative thinking around the challenges of encountering and communicating pain by integrating rigorous scientific presentations with creative practice based interventions
  • Understand the value of a good explanation from the patient perspective 
  • Appreciate the importance of language in describing/explaining pain
  • The role of metaphor and role play in explaining pain science
  • Identify the need and required elements in an explanation
  • Appreciate how a visual journey through a pain clinic could lead to improved outcomes
  • Design explanations for use in clinics and teaching

Key speakers

Lorimer Moseley

Professor Lorimer Moseley

Senior Principal Research Fellow from NeuRA, Professor of Clinical Neurosciences & Foundation Chair in Physiotherapy, University of South Australia.

Speaker's biography

Professor Lorimer Moseley is a clinical scientist investigating pain in humans. Lorimer joined NeuRA from The University of Oxford, UK, where he was Nuffield Medical Research Fellow in the Departments of Clinical Neurology and Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics.

Elena Semino

Professor Elena Semino

Professor, Department: Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University

Peter Salmon

Professor Peter Salmon

Professor of Clinical Psychology, Psychological Sciences from University of Liverpool


View the programme

Registration, tea and coffee

Professor Joanna Zakrzewska, Lead Consultant in Facial Pain, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Mindfulness exercise

Ms Elenor Mclaren, Clinical Psychologist, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Living with pain – how can we communicate it to others?

Ms Rachel Bagshaw, Theatre Director

Language and describing/explaining pain

Professor Elena Semino, Professor, Lancaster University

Panel discussion
Tea and coffee break
Making pain fun: From stories to synapses

Professor Lorimer Moseley, Senior Principal Research Fellow from NeuRA, Professor of Clinical Neurosciences and Foundation Chair in Physiotherapy, University of South Australia

Panel discussion
Patients’ need for explanation: Legitimacy, engagement and empowerment

Professor Peter Salmon, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool

Panel discussion with audience question and answer session

Professor Joanna Zakrzewska, Professor Elena Semino, Professor Lorimer Mosley, Ms Rachel Stovell, Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Deborah Padfield, Lecturer in Arts and Health Humanities and Teaching Fellow, St George’s, University of London and Slade School of Fine Art, University College London

Andrew Lawson prize presentation: Explaining chronic pain and utilising patient communication as a therapeutic tool

Miss Kerry Wales, Fifth Year Medical Student, University College London


1.45 pm - Annual General Meeting for Section Members only

Pain management course explained through images

Professor Joanna Zakrzewska

Panel discussion
Group work multidisciplinary masterclass: Developing resources for explaining pain

Ms Rachel Stovell, Ms Rachel Bagshaw and Ms Elenor McLaren

Masterclass groups: Feedback
Tea and coffee break
Introduction to the film

Dr Deborah Padfield

Film: Pain under the microscope

Dr Deborah Padfield

Panel discussion
Evaluation: Reflecting back on the day
Close of meeting

Evaluation surveys will be sent via email and certificates of attendance can be found in the 'My Account' area on the RSM website


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom