The Comfort Ability® Program workshop is a clinical intervention that helps youth and their caregivers learn how to better manage chronic discomforts such as chronic pain (nerve, muscle or joint pain, headaches, abdominal pain, etc.), nausea, dizziness, fatigue, muscle weakness, etc.
Kennedy Krieger Institute offers this interactive program which is directed by Dr. Margaret Tunney, pediatric psychologist .To date, over 175 youth and 275 caregivers have participated in the workshop at Kennedy Krieger Institute.
Workshops introduce strategies based in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a routinely recommended intervention for youth with ongoing discomforts. Youth and their caregivers learn important CBT-based strategies to better manage discomforts and symptom-related stress. Workshops provide neuroscience education about how the brain functions, facilitate social support, and incorporate hands-on skills training. Families develop individualized Comfort Plans to improve functioning, sleep, school, and exercise.
Meet Our Team
Margaret Tunney, PsyD
Caitlin Thompson, PhD
Merideth Wirstiuk, PsyD
Kirsten Russo, PhD
Our Workshop leaders are licensed psychologists from Kennedy Kreiger’s Pediatric Psychology Consultation Program. In addition to conducting the Comfort Ability® Program, our group leaders provide services across inpatient units (e.g., Inpatient Pediatric Rehabilitation admissions, Inpatient Acute Medical admissions), subspecialty medical clinics (e.g., Pain Rehabilitation Clinic, FNSD Clinic, Concussion Clinic, POTS Clinic, Sleep Clinic, etc.) and outpatient therapy clinics.
Types of Conditions:
The Workshop is designed for varied persistent pain and functional symptoms including headache, abdominal pain, neuropathic pain, musculoskeletal pain, post-injury pain, disease-related pain, nausea, fatigue, functional neurological symptom disorder (FND/FNSD), ehlers-danlos syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, etc.
Who Can Attend:
Youth ages 10 to 17 who have chronic pain or persistent symptoms that impact their daily functioning, as well as their parents or caregivers. You do not have to be a current Kennedy Kreiger patient to attend a workshop. For most families, this intervention is covered by insurance. Participants will also receive a Comfort Kit filled with items to continue practicing skills learned during the workshop at home.
When and Where:
Workshops occur monthly and can be attended in-person or virtually. In-person workshops are conducted in a single day, typically on a weekend from 10am-5pm at the Kennedy Krieger Institute Baltimore campus (Baltimore, MD 21205). Virtual workshops are conducted in six sessions over the course of two to three weeks through a telehealth platform.
To learn more, find out the date of the next workshop, or to reserve a spot, please contact TheComfortAbility@KennedyKrieger.org.