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What modern science now accepts and studies is something the world has long suspected – there is a strong two-way connection between body and mind, wellness and well-being. The mission of the Integrative Behavioral Medicine Research Program is to increase individuals’ psychological well-being and skills with the goal of improving their overall happiness and quality of life. Specifically, we seek to intervene at the critical stress points of cancer: diagnosis, treatment, to survivorship. Our goal is to develop psychosocial interventions to help patients “train their brain” to think in a way that supports healing and maximizes quality of life.

Much of our research explores the use of mind-body and complementary medicine interventions for symptom and side-effect control – such as reducing pain, nausea, and fatigue. For example, our group has investigated the efficacy of interventions such as hypnosis and cognitive-behavioral therapy to help patients feel better physically and emotionally, and to have improved quality of life, as they navigate the struggles of cancer and its treatment. Our current work focuses on using hypnosis to reduce joint pain in breast cancer survivors taking aromatase inhibitors. In our research, we are committed to testing mind-body and complementary medicine techniques with “gold standard” scientific methods (e.g., RCTs, cost effectiveness research) comparable to those used in more mainstream science. Our program has been funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.

Other areas of research for our group include: understanding and working to improve the cancer treatment experiences of individuals who have survived childhood sexual abuse, testing the benefits of massage therapy during breast biopsy, and development of research-informed smart phone apps to improve quality of life. We are also committed to training cancer care providers in empirically validated intervention techniques. The IMBP group has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers, and has received extramural funding from the National Institute of Health (NCI, NCCIH) and the American Cancer Society.