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New movement course provides “installation of hope”


Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire have found that individuals who signed up for a new group which could help those who have medically unexplained conditions to resolve them had a drastic reduction in symptoms as soon as they made the call.

The group, which began this month and uses the body’s movement expression to help participants to explore their symptoms, received ethical approval from Welwyn & Hatfield PCT earlier this year, making it the first group of its type in the region. Demand for the service is already so high that a second 12-week group will start on 20 April.

According to Dr Helen Payne, at the University’s School of Social Community and Health Studies and co-ordinator of the group, many of those who signed up, reported a reduction in their symptoms or that they disappeared altogether as soon as they agreed to participate.

She commented: “This is what we call the “installation of hope” phenomenon. People who go on a waiting list for counselling often report similar outcomes. They get hope from the fact that someone says that they can help.”

The groups 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 the body language of movement to enable a person to explore their psychological state, promoting an integration of body and mind resulting in self understanding, 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.

Helene Murphy | alfa
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