2022-12-08 16:15 || 1.0.0
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    Psychological treatments are not financed by the Hungarian Health Insurance Fund Administration (OEP)

    Healthcare professionals working closely together as a team and guided by the complex and comprehensive aspects of pain provide the quality care found at the National Center for Spinal Disorders. They, in turn, are backed by a group comprised of psychologists, psychiatrists and mental hygienists who assist in the healing, prevention and rehabilitation aspects of surgery and rheumatology.

    In 2006, the psychology team became the Department of Psychotherapy, a separate entity under the direction of Noemi Császár, PhD, Clinical Instructor/Psychotherapist who received her degree in Clinical Psychology and Mental Hygiene at the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary.

    The Department is involved in

    • Patient Care
      • a) Preventive health screening
      • b) Inpatient care
      • c) Rehabilitation
    • Instruction
    • Research

    1. Patient Care

    The psychology staff takes part in all aspects of in- and outpatient care at the hospital including complex evaluation, basic and psychotherapy treatments. This concept of several medical professions working together, as a team, is unique in Hungary also and serves as a model of collaboration in health care.

    All patients, whether admitted on an outpatient or inpatient basis, undergo special psychological testing from the standpoint of the psychological aspects of chronic pain. Following the results, either individual psychological examinations are given or, if needed, psychotherapy or medication treatments begun which include relaxation training, hypnotherapy and cognitive behavior therapy. Once begun inhospital, these treatments may be continued on an outpatient basis.

    The treatments provided by the psychologist/psychiatrist inhospital cover the four principal groups spinal diseases (see I-IV below) and the sub-types within each group. Two new treatment areas, potentially helpful to all patients, have been added (see V-VI below).

    Diseases of the Spine

    • Spinal injuries.
    • Spinal diseases of verified etiology.
    • Spinal diseases of unverified etiology.
    • Tumors.
    • Pain Clinic.
    • Psychological work to increase efficacy of surgery and anesthesia.

    The infrastructure (individual examination rooms, group treatment rooms with complete psycho-diagnostic equipment) ensures the high level of treatment.

    2. Instruction

    The Psychotherapy Department is the center for clinical internships of the Semmelweis University Department of Clinical Psychology and the Károli Gáspár University. Attendance at conferences, scientific programs and graduate studies is encouraged.


    The training center fills a void in clinical psychology in Hungary since it is the only pain therapy center that includes the cooperative efforts of several professions. Patients with chronic pain syndrome, for example, are cared for by a group consisting of an orthopedist, neurologist, rheumatologist, psychiatrist and clinical psychologist - a true psychosomatic approach.

    The Back Pain Research and Therapy Group and its predecessor, the Pain Workshop, has been offering accredited postgraduate courses since October, 1999 for specialists and psychologists in hypnosis, hypnotherapy and pain management. The hypnotherapy education program is under the direction of the director of the department (currently also President of the Scientific Committee of the Hungarian Association of Hypnosis).

    3. Research

    The Back Pain Research and Therapy Group (the Pain Research Workshop of the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church) is the research arm of the Psychotherapy Department. Its predecessor, the Pain Research Laboratory, was originally set up by the Group's director, Noémi Császár, PhD and, ever since 1995, their principal focus has been the research of psychosocial factors of the development and treatment of chronic pain syndrome.

    The Group's psychiatrists and psychologists have been working together with our orthopedists and rheumatologists in studying various therapy and research methods of varying viewpoints. The initial research and therapy results brought about a new complex treatment of the spine first in Hungary. The scientific model was announced in national as well as international forums and the treatment model, as a professional protocol, was reported in a book chapter.

    The goal of the Pain Research Workshop continues to be comprehensive research and therapy team work that benefits several specialties (i.e., anesthesia, spine care, neurology, orthopedic surgery, psychiatry, psychology, including hypnotherapy, and rheumatology) in the area of chronic pain.

    The current work of the Pain Research Workshop involves research on test adaptation, introductory methods and other clinical research. The research in progress examines the following:

    • the struggle with a chronic disease,
    • clinical testing of pain syndrome,
    • methodology and test adaptation,
    • possibilities of hypnotherapy in the treatment of pain,
    • evaluation of the psychosocial condition of patients with primary tumors of the spine,
    • newest theory on chronic spinal pain and its psychotherapeutic treatment.

    The Pain Research Workshop has developed, even by international standards, a unique database collecting data on the physical, emotional and social condition of patients suffering from chronic pain. This includes data obtained from Paper-and-Pencil Tests, observations, medical and other treatments as well as digitally archived diagnostic examinations.

    The data processing and the analysis done according to various viewpoints, is in the current research forefront and may form the basis for possible numerous new research and international scientific comparisons. Presently, this research area has been expanded to include the study of the psychological aspects of primary tumors of the spine. The Spine Oncology Study Group is also part of this international cooperative effort.