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Knoxville Area Psychological Association


Laura Stockdale, MSN, Ph.D.


Dr. Stockdale is a licensed Counseling Psychologist with Behavioral Medicine Institute, providing on-site consultation for Pain Consultants of East Tennessee. In addition to her PhD in Counseling Psychology, she holds both BSN and MSN degrees from the University of Tennessee College of Nursing in Memphis, TN. Her doctoral research, which she completed in 1989, was the first of its kind measuring the effects of relaxation training in internal defibrillator patients. Nationally, she was one of the first Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialists to provide crisis intervention, counseling, and grief work in an ICU setting. Her development of this role was featured in an American Journal of Nursing documentary in 1986. She is a former member of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. Additionally, she is published in multiple nursing journals, including Heart and Lung. Because of her unique clinical experiences, she has been a featured speaker at the local, regional, and national level. Her focus has always been practical coping skills, patient education, and using the mind-body connection to help each patient reach his or her full potential. At PCET, she provides addiction-risk assessments and individual counseling to help the patients cope more effectively with chronic pain.

Pain Consultants of East Tennessee


April 2020

June 2020

August 2020 

Nine Questions:

    1.    What was your first real job?: 

    Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, TN.  (See bio.) Was counselor and crisis interventionist for patients, family members, and staff for a Coronary Care Unit. This 25 bed unit, on average, had 2-3 codes a week - sometimes running simultaneously - and one death a week.  During these codes and other emergencies, I handled the families. After the codes I debriefed the patient and supported the staff. Creation of this position, and inclusion of the staff in my services, was in response to a gifted nurse's suicide earlier that year, after several patients died, despite her excellent nursing care.

    2.     What has been your favorite book and why?:

    Hmm, so many. Probably the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series. I read them in high school and liked the whole "good triumphs over evil" message.

    3.     How do you describe your sense of humor?:

    Usually directed at myself, wry, and sometimes very silly. I love puns and irony. I get very tickled prior to punchlines and many times cannot finish my own joke because I'm laughing so hard.

    4.     What's your current focus in your work?:

    Pain management coping skills and opioid risk assessment. Also past psychological traumas and childhood abuse are very prevalent in pain patients, so have some psychotherapy clients as well, but not many. 

    5.      What kind of patient would you like to see more?:

    Pretty happy with current clientele, but miss arrhythmia/AID/heart transplant patients. I also miss the medical, general hospital setting.

    6.       What would you like KAPA to provide in the future?:

    No suggestions at the moment.

    7.       What guilty pleasure can you not live without?:

    Dark chocolate.

    8.       Name two people who have inspired you?:

    (1) Roberta Mills, Assistant Director of Nursing at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis.  She was my first boss. She took a huge risk in hiring me at a young age, straight out of grad school, for a tough brand new position. She could balance giving support, guidance, and supervision (including reprimands) with trust in my development of a brand new role like no other.  She was ethical, classy, gentle, but could play hard ball when needed. Everyone respected her. 

    (2) Burl Gilliland, Ph.D. He was my doctoral advisor at Memphis State. One of the best crisis interventionists I've ever seen.  He was able to establish rapport with almost anyone, no matter their education, age, or situation. If Burl couldn't connect with someone, no one else would probably be able to either.

    9.      What is a common point of frustration in your current work?:

    While I understand the motives behind current state guidelines for opioid prescribing restrictions, they are very frustrating. Not all COT patients are addicts and not all pain management physicians and practices are pushing opioids. The patients we see meet diagnostic criteria for COT and are screened carefully for risk of aberrant behavior. (Thank you, Dr. Ted Jones). Plus, other modalities - injections, procedures, OT, PT, psychotherapy, psycho-education - are modalities of treatment at this practice.

    10.      What’s one thing - either psychology related or not - you learned in the last month?:

    As a new empty nester, I recently downsized and sold my home of 15 years. I have learned that moving to a smaller apartment with a river view is even better than I imagined.

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