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Comfort Ability Program at Yale

The Comfort Ability Program at the Yale Child Study Center involves a fun and interactive workshop to help children and adolescents (ages 10 to 17) and their parents or caregivers learn how to better manage chronic pain and improve functioning. The workshop offers evidence-based non-pharmacological strategies for pain management based in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for chronic pain. The program is directed by Pediatric Psychologist Areti Vassilopoulos, PhD.

Kids and teens will:

  • Learn mind-body skills to manage pain and stress
  • Connect with peers who also have pain
  • Develop personal plan for comfort and function

Parents and caregivers will:

  • Learn proven strategies for parenting a child with pain
  • Create a plan for improved function at home and school
  • Learn new tools to help increase comfort for their child

About Comfort Ability

Mission & History

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Where was it Developed?

The Comfort Ability Program was developed at Boston Children’s Hospital by Dr. Rachael Coakley in 2011 and is an international program with workshops delivered in the US, Canada, and Australia.

What’s the Goal?

The goal is to optimize your child’s level of comfort and increase their ability to function in their everyday life activities and responsibilities. To get them back to doing all the things they want to and need to do!

The Comfort Ability Workshop

What Happens in the Workshop?

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Kids and parents are in separate groups for the workshop.

Kid/Teen group: The workshop for kids and teens provides a safe and comfortable space to connect with others who can really understand what it’s like to have ongoing pain. Together, they learn about pain science, learn about psychology tools to control the pain, and use mind-body skills to boost comfort. Kids also explore how to manage pain-related stress like isolation from friends, school problems, lack of sleep, missing out on activities, and how to cope with feeling anxious or sad. At the end of the workshop, kids develop their own Comfort Ability plan to guide their coping and long-term recovery.

Parent/Caregiver group: The parent/caregiver workshop focuses on parenting skills that help to boost a child’s sense of comfort and well-being. Parents learn about pain science and about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), as well. Parents explore new ways to respond to their child’s pain, focus on how to improve day-to-day activities at home and school, and create a specific plan that will help to boost comfort for their child. Parents also have time to connect with other parents in supportive ways.

Who Can Attend?

Kids and teens ages 10 to 17 with chronic pain, such as persistent headache or migraine, abdominal pain, nerve pain, joint pain, disease related pain, post-surgical pain, or any other kind of persistent pain. Family must commit to both the youth and parent sessions. You do not have to be a current patient at Yale Child Study Center or Yale New Haven Health System. Families will receive Comfort Ability Program booklets, as well as a Comfort Kit filled with items to continue practicing new skills learned during the workshop at home.


In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yale’s workshop delivery shifted to virtual format. All virtual sessions can be attended in the comfort of your home. In-person workshops will resume in the spring of 2023, to be held at 350 George Street in New Haven, Connecticut.

Upcoming Dates

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Workshops are currently held virtually, in a 6-session series over the course of two weeks, with 4 youth sessions and 2 parent sessions scheduled in advance. Two sets of virtual workshop series are now scheduled, one in December 2022 and another in February 2023. Dates for these sessions follow below. Families must commit to attending all 6 sessions in the same month. For in-person workshops (resuming in the spring), full-day attendance is required for both parents and youth for program completion. The date for the spring in-person session will be May 20th, 2023 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Parent and youth sessions will occur at the same time in the same building, in different rooms.

February 2023 Series:

  • Youth workshop #1: Tuesday, February 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Youth workshop #2: Thursday, February 9, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Parent workshop #1: Saturday, February 11, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Parent workshop #2: Sunday, February 12, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Youth workshop #3: Tuesday, February 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Youth workshop #4: Thursday, February 16, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Spring In-person Session:

  • May 20th, 2023, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.


There is a one-time $300 out-of-pocket cost for the Comfort Ability Workshop, which includes 6-telehealth sessions or the single full-day program. There are limited scholarship slots available pending eligibility.


Visit the main Comfort Ability Program website for additional resources, such as guided mindfulness and relaxation skills, Online Health Chats, Newsletter, and much more!