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Clinical therapeutics
Q17 Psychomotor therapy and the training of relaxation skills in dealing with chorea and stress
  1. L Bego,
  2. K van Dijk
  1. De Riethorst Stromenland, Geertruidenberg, The Netherlands


Background Huntington Disease (HD) is a fatal, hereditary neurodegenerative disorder characterised by a triad of motor, cognitive and psychiatric symptoms that impact dramatically on the sense of self and quality of life. Creative, movement-focussed and client-centred strategies are required to minimise overall decline as the disease progresses.

Aims To asses effects on quality of life, cognitive and psychomotor function as well as behavioural changes. For the individual patient aims are:

  • Obtain and maintain skills for internal selfregulation: focusing attention, having a realistic body-image and -relationship, improved ability to relax, enjoy and experience pleasure and beauty through movement.

  • Maintain and increase autonomy through the stimulation of authentic movement.

  • Improved coping skills.

  • To experience fulfilment and meaning in a creative process.

  • Enjoyment of communication and social interaction and engagement.

Methods Patients participate in a group or come for individual therapy on an weekly bases. Criteria for participation are: early to middle stage of HD, age 20+, mildly reduced cognitive functioning, with no severe psychiatric illness and mostly independent in Activities of Daily Living Function (ADL). The programme includes the use of a variety of methods and techniques such as Psycho Motor, Movement-, Dance- and Hydrotherapy and Relaxation Training.

Results Patients who have trained their relaxation skills show and report a capability to relax deeper and seem to cope with stress, cognitive and psychiatric symptoms in a more effective way. Also into the later stages of HD patients report a relief from the burden of stress symptoms through psychomotor therapy.

Conclusions The enrolment in the programme has so far been positively received among the HD patients and the clinical multidisciplinairy staff. Psychomotor therapy offers treatment from a practice based evidence way of working.

  • Huntington's disease
  • psychomotor therapy
  • relaxation skills

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