Body-Psychotherapy Research Projects

Abstracts of Recent Research Projects

(1) Title: Chronic pain and psychodynamic body therapy: A controlled outcome study.

Authors: Monsen, Kirsti, & Monsen, Jon T.

Journal: Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training. Vol. 37, No. 3, Fall 2000, pp. 257-269.

Abstract: Forty patients (aged 29–57 yrs) with pain disorders participated in a controlled study. Half of the patients were treated with psychodynamic body therapy (PBT) for 33 sessions, and the other half received treatment as usual or no treatment. All patients were evaluated before therapy (T1), at the end of therapy (T2), and at 1-year follow-up (T3) with a visual-analogue-pain scale (subjective experience of pain), symptom checklist, inventory of interpersonal problems, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, and the affect-consciousness interview. The study demonstrated that at T2 the pain was significantly reduced in the PBT group compared to the controls, and 50% of the PBT patients reported no pain. The findings further showed a significant and substantial change on level of somatization, depression, anxiety, denial, assertiveness, and social withdrawal, and increased affect consciousness. The results remained stable at T3, and the PBT patients even continued their improvement on some scales during follow-up. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)

 (2) Title: Efficacy of 'functional relaxation' in comparison to terbutaline and a 'placebo relaxation' method in patients with acute asthma. A randomized, prospective, placebo-controlled, crossover experimental investigation.

Authors: Loew, T. H., Tritt, K., Siegfried, W., Bohmann, H., Martus P. & Hahn, E. G.

Journal: Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 2001, Vol. 70, No. 3, pp 151-157.

Abstract: Background: 'Functional relaxation' (FR) according to Marianne Fuchs is a body-oriented psychotherapy that involves teaching the patient a type of relaxation techniques aimed at maintaining equilibrium of the nervous system. Methods: In order to determine whether the practice of elementary parts of this therapy has an immediate beneficial effect on pulmonary function, a randomized, single-blind, prospective crossover study was done with 21 asthmatics with acute bronchoconstriction. On 3 consecutive days they were given either (1) a 5-min verbal standard instruction in elementary exercises of FR (eFR), which they were to practice during subsequent bodyplethysmographic measurement or (2) inhalative terbutaline (IT), a β2-sympathomimetic drug, or (3) an unspecific 'placebo relaxation' technique (PRT), so that all subjects tried all 3 treatments in random order. Spirometric variables were assessed. Results: There was a significant decrease in specific airway resistance with eFR, which, though not as pronounced as with IT, was significantly greater than with PRT. This study shows that clinically relevant effects can be achieved for patients with asthma through mind-body interaction, which can be triggered by reproducible procedures. Conclusion: Further development of the FR approach could lead to a non-pharmacological and effective supplementary treatment for asthma, which is in high demand by many patients.

Key Words: Asthma; Disease; Symptomatology; Bronchoconstriction; Acute; Treatment; Body psychotherapy’ Relaxation; Comparative study; Chemotherapy; Terbutaline; Bronchodilator; Agonist; β2-Adrenergic receptor; β-Adrenergic receptor agonist; Inhalation; Treatment efficiency; Prospective; Follow-up study; Human; Somatic disease; Respiratory disease; Obstructive pulmonary disease;

30 refs.

 (3) Title: Effect of body-oriented psychological therapy on negative symptoms in schizophrenia: a randomized controlled trial

Authors: Röhricht, Frank & Priebe, Stefan

Contact: Dr Frank Röhricht, Academic Unit, Newham Centre for Mental Health, London E13 8SP, UK.

Journal: Psychological Medicine, Volume 36 (5) May 2006, pp. 669-678.

Abstract: Background: In order to improve the treatment of medication-resistant negative symptoms in schizophrenia, new interventions are needed. Neuropsychological considerations and older reports in the literature point towards a potential benefit of body-oriented psychological therapy (BPT). This is the first randomized controlled trial specifically designed to test the effectiveness of manualized BPT on negative symptoms in chronic schizophrenia.

Method: Out-patients with DSM-IV continuous schizophrenia were randomly allocated to either BPT (n = 24) or supportive counseling (SC, n = 21). Both therapies were administered in small groups in addition to treatment as usual (20 sessions over 10 weeks). Changes in negative symptom scores on the Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS) between baseline, post-treatment and 4-month follow-up were taken as primary outcome criteria in an intention-to-treat analysis.

Results: Patients receiving BPT attended more sessions and had significantly lower negative symptom scores after treatment (PANSS negative, blunted affect, motor retardation). The differences held true at 4-month follow-up. Other aspects of psychopathology and subjective quality of life did not change significantly in either group. Treatment satisfaction and ratings of the therapeutic relationship were similar in both groups.

Conclusions: BPT may be an effective treatment for negative symptoms in patients with chronic schizophrenia. The findings should merit further trials with larger sample sizes and detailed studies to explore the therapeutic mechanisms involved.

42 refs.

 (6) Title: Affect-focused Body Psychotherapy in patients with generalised anxiety disorder: Evaluation of an integrative method

Authors: Berg, Adrienne Levy; Sandell, Rolf & Sandahi, Christer: Karolinska Institutet, Stolkholm, Sweden. Contact:

Journal: Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 19(1), March 2009, p. 67-85

Abstract: The aim of this study as to explore the long-term effects of affect-focused body psychotherapy (ABP) for patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). A group of 61 consecutive patients, 21-55 years old, were randomized to ABP and psychiatric treatment as usual (TAU). The patients were assessed before treatment and followed up 1 and 2 years after inclusion. The ABP patients received one session of treatment per week during 1 year. Three self-report questionnaires were administered; Symptom Checklist-90; Beck Anxiety Inventory; and the WHO (Ten) Well-Being Index. In both groups, there was a significant improvement. On termination, the ABP group had improved significantly more on the SCL-90 Global Symptom Index than the TAU group, whereas the differences were short of significance on the other two scales. The integration of bodily techniques with a focus on affects in a psychodynamically informed treatment seems to be a viable treatment alternative for patients with GAD.

Keywords: Affects - Body Psychotherapy - Outcome - Physiotherapy - Randomized Trial

66 refs, Appendix

 (7) Title: Effectiveness of Body Mind Therapy of Cancer Patients receiving chemical treatment.

Authors: Dr. Irit Peleg, Dr. Joseph Brenner, Dr. Moti Shimonov, Ofra Ravinda, Dafna Karata Shwartz.

Contact: Dr Irit Peleg, Reidman International College, 26 HAim levaon St., Tel Aviv, 63507 Israel.

Abstract: The difficulties of coping with the crisis caused by the discovery and treatment of cancer and its implications induce a sense of mental and physical distress that influences the patient’s quality of life. Body mind therapies in the framework of integrative medicine have, in recent years, become an inseparable part of the physical and mental treatments used by patients. There is considerable research evidence of the effectiveness of these treatments for cancer patients.

The research objective is to examine the effectiveness of body-mind therapy on cancer patients who are receiving chemical treatment. The research method: 24 cancer patients were sampled, some of whom received body-mind therapies and some who constituted the control group. The research process: the research data were collected using a structured independently completed questionnaire that was validated. The results: four interactions were found according to group and timing, in which an improvement was found after the therapy among the experiment subjects as opposed to the control group.

In the area of psychological variables, in the experimental group before the therapy there were more physiological changes (M=4.65) than after the therapy (M=3.97). This measure examined the degree of tiredness, appetite, pains, sleep changes, constipation, nausea, changes in monthly menstruation, general state of health, and changes in the outer appearance.

In the area of variables in the economic situation and family situation, before the intervention there were more changes for the worse among the subjects in the experimental group (M=4.92) than among the subjects of the control group (M=2.55), while after the intervention there were no differences between the groups. This index examined the extent to which the disease bothered the family members, whether the support is adequate, and the extent to which the disease disrupted the employment and caused an economic burden.

In the area of changes for the worse inbehavior, before the intervention there were more changes for the worse among the subjects in the experimental group (M=4.81) tha among the subjects in the control group (M=3.36), while after the intervention there were no differences between the groups. This index examined the extent to which the patient is troubled by the first diagnosis, how the disease influences anxiety and depression, and concerns and fears of future diagnoses, fear of additional cancer, metastasis, and fear of the future.

In the area of negative changes following the disease, before the intervention there were more changes for the worse among the subjects of the experimental group (M=4.91) than among the subjects of the control group (M=3.98), while after the intervention there were no differences between the groups. This index is comprised of a mean of five indices: sychological changes related to the disease, changes in the economic situation and situations in the family, changes for the worse in the sexuality and social relations, changes for the worse in behavior, and changes and concerns related to the disease.

As the cancer patient receives more body-mind therapies, his physical and emotional immune system is strengthened (2.3), his ability to cope with crisis increases (4), his tension and anxiety are reduced (5.6), his level of tiredness is lowered (6.7), he acquires knowledge to relax the body and enable it to strengthen itself, and the ability to recover vitality, essentialness, and general quality of life increase (8). As the patient adopts poitive thinking on life in general and on his personal situation in particular, the changes of his recovery will increase (9) and his relations with his significant other and his friends will improve (10).

If you know of any other Body Psychotherapy research projects, please e-mail the abstract (etc) to the EABP Secretariat here.