Best Practice Update: Incorporating Psychogastroenterology Into Management of Digestive Disorders

Laurie Keefer*, Olafur S. Palsson, John E. Pandolfino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Chronic digestive diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and inflammatory bowel diseases, cannot be disentangled from their psychological context—the substantial burden of these diseases is co-determined by symptom and disease severity and the ability of patients to cope with their symptoms without significant interruption to daily life. The growing field of psychogastroenterology focuses on the application of scientifically based psychological principles and techniques to the alleviation of digestive symptoms. In this Clinical Practice Update, we describe the structure and efficacy of 2 major classes of psychotherapy—cognitive behavior therapy and gut-directed hypnotherapy. We focus on the impact of these brain–gut psychotherapies on gastrointestinal symptoms, as well as their ability to facilitate improved coping, resilience, and self-regulation. The importance of the gastroenterologist in the promotion of integrated psychological care cannot be overstated, and recommendations are provided on how to address psychological issues and make an effective referral for brain–gut psychotherapy in routine practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1249-1257
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • Brain-gut Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  • GI Psychologist
  • Gut-directed hypnotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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