Problems and solutions for patients with fibromyalgia: Building new helping relationships




The aim of this study was to identify the main biological, psychological and sociological problems and potential solutions for patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia by use of Group Problem-Solving Therapy.


Group Problem-Solving Therapy is a technique for identifying and solving problems, increasing assertiveness, self-esteem and eliminating negative thoughts.


Qualitative phenomenological interpretive design: Group Problem-Solving Therapy sessions conducted with patients suffering fibromyalgia were studied; participants recruited via the Rheumatology Department at a general hospital and associations in Catalonia, Spain with sessions conducted in nearby university setting.


The study included 44 people diagnosed with fibromyalgia (43 female, 1 male) from 6 Group Problem-Solving Therapy sessions. Data collected from March–June 2013.

A total of 24 sessions were audio recorded, all with prior informed consent. Data were transcribed and then analysed in accordance with established methods of inductive thematic analysis, via a process of reduction to manage and classify data.


Five themes were identified: (1) Current problems are often related to historical trauma; (2) There are no “one size fits all” solutions; (3) Fibromyalgia is life-changing; (4) Fibromyalgia is widely misunderstood; (5) Statistically Significant impacts on physical, psychological and social are described.


The majority of patients’ problems were associated with their previous history and the onset of fibromyalgia; which may be related to trauma in adolescence, early adulthood or later. The solutions provided during the groups appeared to be accepted by the participants.

These findings can improve the self-management of fibromyalgia patients by helping to enhance adaptive behaviours and incorporating the female gender approach.


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