Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Robert L. Betz

Second Advisor

Dr. Dale Brethower

Third Advisor

Dr. Thelma Urbick


Headaches are common and frequent forms of pain, and are classified on the basis of inferred physiological factors (Ad Hoc Committee on the Classification of Headache, 1962).

Behavioral treatment of headaches was the subject of this study which focused on improving our understanding of the psychophysiological mechanisms of head pain. It is believed that understanding the physiological and psychological mechanisms of head pain assist in designing treatment using effective behavioral and cognitive methods (Olton & Noonberg, 1980).

Twenty-four headache patients diagnosed as muscle contraction (tension), or migraine headache sufferers were chosen as subjects. The length of the study was one week baseline plus seven weeks for the treatment phase, and eight weeks for the follow-up phase. Twelve migraine headache patients and 12 muscle contraction headache patients were assigned randomly into four treatment groups. Treatment groups received electromyograph (EMG) biofeedback, skin temperature biofeedback, relaxation training, and no treatment. Five headache index measures (pain intensity level, EMG level, skin temperature, duration of headache bout, and number of bouts per week) were dependent variables.

The main result of this study shows that biofeedback treatment was as effective as relaxation training in reducing headache activity for the subjects. The combination of the two strategies might provide patients with an optimal treatment protocol.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Counseling Commons