Centre for Research on Pain, Disability and Social Integration

Dr. Michael Sullivan

Centre for Research on Pain, Disability and Social Integration

The Progressive Goal Attainment Program (PGAP)

In 2000, Dr. Sullivan developed the Progressive Goal Attainment Program (PGAP), a standardized risk-targeted behavioural activation intervention designed to reduce psychosocial risk factors for delayed recovery. PGAP was the first intervention to focus on the reduction of pain-related psychosocial risk factors as a means of promoting recovery following musculoskeletal injury. As well, PGAP incorporates core elements of multidisciplinary rehabilitation such as mobilization, education and self-management skills into a program delivered by a single rehabilitation professional as opposed to a team of rehabilitation professionals. Finally, the highly structured behavioural platform that is the foundation of PGAP is such that a wide range of rehabilitation professionals can be trained to deliver the intervention. These program features combine to facilitate dissemination of the program, increase the accessibility of the program, and reduce the cost of service delivery. Interventions targeting pain-related psychosocial risk factors have now replaced traditional symptom-focused interventions as the best-practices approach to managing risk of delayed recovery in individuals with debilitating health and mental health conditions.

Since 2013, the Official Disability Guidelines (ODG) for Workers’ Compensation Boards of the United States have listed PGAP as an evidence-based intervention for the treatment of work-disability. Numerous injury and disability insurers in Canada (CNESST, WSIB, WorkSafeBC, SunLife, Blue Cross, Veterans Affairs), the United States (Labor and Industry), and Australia (EML, SIRA) have adopted PGAP as a preferred service for their clients with debilitating health and mental health conditions.