Professor Toby Newton-John
Acting Head of School, Graduate School of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Toby Newton-John completed training in Clinical Psychology in Sydney, Australia before completing a PhD at Kings College, London UK. After working in a variety of mental health settings (public and private hospitals, inpatient and outpatient chronic pain services) for over 20 years prior to entering academia, he is currently Professor and acting Head of the Graduate School of Health, University of Technology Sydney. He has published over 90 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters and has co-edited 2 major textbooks, predominantly in the area of the psychology of chronic physical illness. His research is cited 130% more often than the global average in his field (FWCI 2.30, 2018-21, SciVal 6/2022). He is a Chief Investigator on research grants totalling more than $7 million since 2020, and has supervised 6 PhD students to completion.
Toby continues to practice as a Clinical Psychologist and has a very part time clinical role at Northern Pain Centre in Sydney.
“A kick in the bum is fine, as long as I get a hug too”: The Role of the Partner in Adjustment to Chronic Pain
It is generally accepted that pain should be considered from a biopsychosocial perspective, and yet research and clinical practice tend to pay less attention to the social than the biological and psychological elements of pain. This is despite theoretical and empirical evidence that the social environment has a powerful influence on pain experience generally, and on adaptation to chronic pain specifically. This presentation will focus on one important aspect of the social environment – the role of the partner. A majority of adults marry or live with a romantic partner, and the daily interactions with this most important individual are highly influential in terms of coping with chronic pain. Operant behavioural theory showed us that the partner could shape the expression of pain behaviour, and pain clinics are familiar with the ‘over-involved spouse’. However, partners can also be a great asset in support of patient self-management of pain. Research outlining the influence of the partner on chronic pain adjustment will be presented, including some new data exploring how patient attachment style mediates the relationship between partner influence and patient coping with pain.