Traumatized individuals, particularly victims of violence, war and torture, suffer not only from psychological disorders but are often affected by chronic pain even years later, such as headaches, stomach pain and back pain. This pain may be directly linked to the traumatic experiences, but other times it occurs due to the general tension and fear that continues after such trauma.

The Berlin Center has therefore developed a Biofeedback Pain Therapy within the framework of a multi-centered study, in cooperation with the Outpatient Clinic for Victims of War and Torture in Zurich, the University of Southhampton, the Charité Outpatient Center for Pain, and the Technical University in Dresden. The therapy covers 10 to 12 weekly sessions of 60 to 90 minutes. The main aim is to improve the way patients cope with their pain in their daily lives. This in turn improves the general well-being of patients and the associated feelings of helplessness and uncertainty.


The first stage of therapy focuses on the primary psychological and somatic disorders and the current circumstances that the individual faces. In the framework of Psychoeducation, the patient learns to recognize the direct connection between traumatic events and pain. Secondly, relaxation techniques for each patient are developed within the group, and various stress, pain and relaxation situations are practiced and supported by Biofeedback.

The third stage of therapy involves the cognitive restructuring of dysfunctional thought processes, such as “I cannot influence my pain”. The methods and strategies of pain management and control patients learn throughout the therapy are then applied to everyday situations. Physical activities helps patients during this therapy to increase their mobility, which in the longer-term allows patients to reduce their own physical pain that may later arise from stressful situations.

In the framework of a study in the Berlin Center for Torture Victims, over 30 patients have participated in Biofeedback Pain Therapy. The first analyses of this therapy have shown significant positive results in how patients manage their pain.