The Psychological Society of Ireland



The Psychological Society of Ireland,
Floor 2, Grantham House,
Grantham Street, Dublin 8, D08 W8HD.



The mystery is.....there is no mystery: Working with children with chronic pain and medically unexplained symptoms


Psychological Society of Ireland one day conference to explore psychological issues of chronic pain and medically unexplained symptoms in children


Dublin, 12 May, 2016 – When your child is sick, complaining of persistent aches and pains, you take them to the doctor expecting a diagnosis and prescribed treatment plan. But what if the doctor can’t give a medical explanation? What if further specialist tests and investigations indicate no medical cause? Coping with medically unexplained symptoms can be hugely stressful for children and their families. As well as coping with debilitating symptoms, many young people and parents are left wondering; ‘What if the doctors are missing something?’, ‘Are they saying it’s all in my head?’, ‘ Do they think I’m making it up?!’

On Monday 16 May 2016, a one day conference from the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) will explore the multiple issues involved in the assessment, treatment and support of children and young adults experiencing chronic pain or medically unexplained symptoms. The conference, entitled The mystery is.....there is no mystery: Working with children with chronic pain and medically unexplained symptoms, will take place at The Gibson Hotel in Dublin and will see various presentations from international experts on the topic.

Stomachache, headache, fatigue and backache are extremely common complaints in children and adolescents. These symptoms can be severe and debilitating, however; very often no underlying medical cause can be given, or the level of functional disability or distress cannot be explained purely by the medical condition. These are what are referred to as medically unexplained symptoms and can result in poor school attendance, withdrawal from age-appropriate activities, mood disorders, over dependence on parents and interference in normal family life-cycle development, in addition to the financial cost of admission to hospital and diagnostic tests that may not be warranted.

  • It has been estimated that about one fifth of GP visits for 7 to 12 year olds are for symptoms with a likely psychological component
  • Chronic pain without an identifiable organic cause occurs in 4% to 15% of adolescents and represents a substantial proportion of referrals to doctors and hospitals. Even more common in adolescents is fatigue, with approximately one third of adolescents complaining of substantial fatigue four or more times a week
  • Abdominal pains represent about 10% of new medical out-patient visits but even after extensive investigations only in less than half of them is any significant underlying medical cause found

Psychological Society of Ireland member Vincent McDarby has been central to the organisation of this conference and understands the confusion and frustration that parents, families and children can feel when faced with chronic pain and medically unexplained symptoms: “Without a medical diagnosis to explain physical symptoms, families and clinicians alike are left without a ‘route-map’. With this conference, we’re hoping to sign-post this journey, with a focus on supporting children to cope with symptoms and re-engage with the activities they enjoy most.”

More information and registration for this one day conference please click here

PSI Membership

Join PSI Today !

Are you a mental health professional, researcher or student psychologist?

Join now!


X We use Session cookies to provide a better user experience to members and Google Analytics cookies for web traffic analysis only

NOTE: No personal information is stored in any cookies set by this website.

If you need more information on compliance with the EU Cookie Directive (EU Directive 2009/136/EC) please contact Active Online 0n 01 8666116 or

Allow cookies:
Yes No

One cookie will be stored to remember your selection.