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Alleviating psychosomatic symptoms through movement


A new group which could help individuals who have medically unexplained conditions to resolve their symptoms will take place at the University of Hertfordshire in March 2006.

The group, which will use the body’s movement expression to help participants to explore their symptoms, has just received ethical approval from Welwyn & Hatfield PCT, making it the first group of its type in the region.

It will form part of a research project run by the University’s School of Social Community and Health Studies, in conjunction with the PCT to explore the effect on patients who have presented to the NHS with psychosomatic conditions which appear to have no medical explanation.

Dr Helen Payne, co-ordinator of the course is very excited about the fact that the NHS has recognised bodily movement as a feasible therapeutic activity, which means it will now become more available.

She commented: “This course is ideal for what we call the ‘revolving door patient’ for whom no treatment seems to work and has been told it’s all in the mind. It is not all in the mind; it is manifesting in the body.”

The Hertfordshire ‘learning group’ will provide a supportive context which uses movement and/or dance to enable a person to explore their psychological state, promoting an integration of body and mind resulting in healing, insight and growth.

Treatment may lead to better coping strategies, a reduction in symptoms, increased ability to relax and a greater sense of well-being.

Dr Payne concluded: “This approach is very holistic and we have evidence that it works. The fact that it has now been recognised by primary care rather than mental health is a major development for this field.”

Helene Murphy | alfa
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