Dr. Rachael Coakley is pediatric pain psychologist in the Department of Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she serves as the Director of Clinical Innovation and Outreach in Pain Medicine and the Associate Director of Psychological Services. Additionally, she is Founder and Director of “The Comfort Ability,” an internationally disseminated program that teaches evidence-based pain management skills to adolescents with chronic pain and their parents. Dr. Coakley is an Assistant Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School and holds national and international leadership positions.
Dr. Coakley completed her undergraduate work at The University of Pennsylvania and her doctoral studies at Loyola University in Chicago. She completed fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital and joined the Consultation Liaison Service for one year prior to beginning her current position in the Pain Treatment Service in 2006.
Dr. Coakley’s career focuses on translational research of evidence-based psychological intervention for pediatric pain management. Her program, “The Comfort Ability,” is currently licensed by children’s hospitals throughout the US, Canada and Australia. She has also developed a video-based intervention for sickle cell pain that is also widely disseminated. For her work in program development and for enhancing access to clinical care for patients with chronic pain, she was honored with the 2020 Carolyn Schroeder Award, a national recognition from the American Psychological Association for outstanding clinical practice.
Outside her work in program development, Dr. Coakley enjoys writing and lecturing to help educate parents and providers about chronic pain. Her 2016 book, “When Your Child Hurts: Effective Strategies to Increase Comfort, Reduce Stress and Break the Cycle of Chronic Pain”(Yale University Press), won a national book award for best parenting book (NAPPA). Her writing is also featured in her ongoing Psychology Today column, the Washington Post, and numerous other publications.
Rachael’s creative healing: meditation, yoga, writing, reading, painting, drawing, and hiking