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About The Comfort Ability®

What is The Comfort Ability® Program?

The Comfort Ability® Program helps kids and parents and caregivers learn how to better manage recurring functional symptoms such as chronic pain (nerve, muscle or joint pain, headaches, abdominal pain, etc.), nausea, dizziness, fatigue and muscle weakness. The program teaches how the nervous system works in the body and why skills rooted in psychology can help. It also gives kids and parents and caregivers the chance to learn and practice many proven coping skills based in cognitive behavioral therapy.

The Comfort Ability® Program offers workshops, health chats, newsletters, and other resources for teens and parents/caregivers. The workshops take place at many sites throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia. 

What is The Comfort Ability® Workshop?

The Comfort Ability® workshop is a clinical intervention developed Dr. Rachael Coakley at Boston Children's Hospital. In the workshop, kids and their caregivers learn strategies to better manage pain and functional symptoms and improve how they feel about what they can do each day. The workshop teaches many proven coping skills based in cognitive behavioral therapy. 

How does The Comfort Ability® Workshop work?

The Comfort Ability® workshop is a group intervention that can be done as a one-day workshop or as several virtual telehealth sessions. The program is run by a healthcare professional who has been trained to run the program at a licensed Comfort Ability® Program site. There are separate parts of the program for kids and their caregivers. It’s important that parents and kids both do this program to get the best results.

What happens at The Comfort Ability® Workshop?

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 and functional symptoms. Together, they learn about neuroscience, learn about psychology tools to control the symptoms, and use mind-body skills to boost comfort. Kids also explore how to manage symptom-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 and caregiver workshop focuses on parenting skills that help to boost a child’s sense of comfort and well-being. Parents/caregivers learn about neuroscience and about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), as well. Parents and caregivers explore new ways to respond to their child’s symptoms, 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 and caregivers also have time to connect with other parents in supportive ways. 

Who can attend the Comfort Ability Workshop?

The Comfort Ability workshop is for kids and teens ages 10-17 who have recurring symptoms such as chronic pain, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and muscle weakness and their parents or caregivers. If a child has more than one parent/caregiver, it is recommended that all attend this workshop. The workshop has been shown to help with chronic pain problems such as headache, abdominal pain, nerve pain, joint pain, disease related pain, post-surgical pain, or any other kind of ongoing pain. 

How do I attend the Comfort Ability® Workshop?

Click here to find out where you can access the workshop. The Comfort Ability® Program is growing quickly, so if you can't find a workshop near you, it's always a good idea to check back. Review our list of current sites regularly to see if there is a new workshop running near you. You can also call the closest site to you (or email thecomfortability@childrens.harvard.edu) to ask about virtual telehealth workshops. 

Other resources from the Comfort Ability® Program 

The Comfort Ability® Program website is filled with free resources that are known to help kids with pain and functional symptoms and their parents/caregivers even if it’s not possible for you to attend the workshop. 

Online Health Chats:

Every month the Comfort Ability® Program runs an online text chat for either parents/caregivers or kids. You have to register, but the chats are free. They are moderated by a pediatric psychologist and include a peer or parent mentor. It’s a great way to get support, ask questions, and continue learning about symptom management. Find out when the next chats are happening and sign up here!

Ask an Expert/Ask a Peer/Ask a Caregiver:

If you have questions about the program or general questions about coping with chronic symptoms, submit them here and a expert on the Comfort Ability® Program team will reply. Also, if you have general questions for other kids with chronic symptoms or parents/caregivers, you can submit them here and a member of our Peer or Parent Caregiver Advisory Board will reply. Of course, experts and peers can’t provide specific clinical advice about you or your child but can provide support and share resources about coping skills. For clinical advice, you’ll need to talk to your/your child’s treatment team.

If you have Sickle Cell Disease:

There is a separate Comfort Ability ®Program just for kids and teens with sickle cell pain. Learn more about the Comfort Ability® Program for Sickle Cell Pain here or please email: thecomfortability@childrens.harvard.edu


The Comfort Ability® Program is on a mission to connect families with helpful science-backed resources of all kinds. In our newsletter we share new information about new apps, websites, books and programs that can help to support kids with pain and other functional symptoms. Sign up to stay connected!

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