Clinician Perspectives of Basic Body Awareness Therapy (BBAT) in Mental Health Physical Therapy: An International Qualitative Study

Author: Amanda Lundvik Gyllensten, Lene Nyboe Jacobsen, Gunvor Gard
1 Department of Health Sciences, Research Group Physiotherapy, Lund University, Lund, Sweden. Electronic address:
2 Research unit for PTSD, Section for depression and anxiety, Aarhus University Hospital, Risskov, Denmark. Electronic address:
3 Department of Health Sciences, Research Group Physiotherapy, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; Department of Health Sciences, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden. Electronic address:
Conference/Journal: J Bodyw Mov Ther
Date published: 2019 Oct
Other: Volume ID: 23 , Issue ID: 4 , Pages: 746-751 , Word Count: 214

PMID: 31733757 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2019.04.012

Introduction: Body awareness is a movement therapy used in Physical Therapy in Mental Health especially in Scandinavia. The method Basic Body Awareness Therapy has been scientifically investigated in particular for patients with Depression, Schizophrenia and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).

Methods: Thirty-four Physical Therapists from 13 countries working with the Basic Body Awareness Therapy method in Mental Health Care were interviewed in six focus groups about what effects they have experienced in their work with patients. The Physical Therapists worked within the whole Mental Health spectra. Content analysis was used to analyze the informants' experiences of the clinical effects of body awareness.

Results: Five categories emerged: To be in contact, Refocus and coping, Sense of Self, Relations to others and Daily life activities. The results are discussed in relation to previous research, existing theories of body awareness and cognitive neuroscience and findings of experimental psychology.

Conclusion: The informants experienced that Basic Body Awareness Therapy worked mainly by helping the patients to be in better contact with their "bodily self." Stability, balance, improved grounding and the ability to relax were understood as the basis to establish an improved sense of self and leading to improved acceptance of oneself and one's ability to relate to others.

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