Kevin E Vowles, PhD

Over the course of his career, Kevin has worked almost exclusively in the area of chronic pain. He has been a key figure in the development and adaptation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for this complex condition. His work is cited by the American Psychological Association’s Division of Clinical Psychology in their listing of ACT for chronic pain as an intervention with strong research support: the highest possible grading. His work is also cited by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in their recommendation of ACT for the treatment of chronic pain. Kevin’s recent work has expanded to include issues of substance use in chronic pain, including opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol. In 2020, he co-chaired a pan-European task force which provided a comprehensive set of clinical practice recommendations regarding opioid use for chronic non-cancer pain.


Kevin completed his PhD in clinical psychology at West Virginia University in 2004 and post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia the following year. From 2005 to 2009, he was employed by the Centres for Pain Research and Services at the University of Bath and Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases. Beginning in 2009, he accepted a position to provide psychology leadership in developing a novel interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation program with Keele University and the Haywood Hospital. After three years of trial funding, this program was deemed by the UK’s National Health Service to be highly effective in both clinical and financial terms and permanent funding was secured. This service was awarded with the National Care Integration Award in 2012. That same year, Kevin moved to the Department of Psychology at the University of New Mexico, where he was promoted to Full Professor in 2019. Currently, he holds a chair as Professor of Clinical Psychology in the School of Psychology at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


Regarding the numbers, Kevin has published over 110 scientific articles since 2002. His work has been funded by extramural bodies for almost two decades and his current grant portfolio includes about $500,000/£375,000 in annual expenditure. He has been a part of developing three comprehensive interdisciplinary treatment programmes for chronic pain, two in the UK and one in the USA. His work on opioids for chronic pain is referenced in the policy documentation of several governmental bodies across the world. He delivered the 2019 BF Skinner lecture at the 45th annual meeting of the International Association for Behavior Analysis, which was about as cool as it gets for a behavior analyst trained in West Virginia.

Upcoming live training presented by Kevin E Vowles, PhD

Working with chronic pain

17th - 25th Sep 2024

Using acceptance, mindfulness and values

See Details

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