Consensus on the theory of basic body awareness therapy – qualitative action research implemented into the movement awareness domain

  • Skjaerven L
  • Mattsson M
  • Parker A
  • et al.
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Background: Long-lasting musculoskeletal disorders and mental health problems are leading causes of sick leave worldwide. One established treatment for these conditions is Basic Body Awareness Therapy (BBAT), a physiotherapeutic movement awareness approach used especially in mental health. BBAT encloses phenomena and perspectives that are easily misunderstood within a biomedical physiotherapy focusing on physical training. It therefore needs to be studied. Purpose: To explore how a consensus process could generate data to establish a theoretical base in BBAT and to reveal core phenomena and theoretical assumptions, expressed by expert physiotherapists, in BBAT. Methods: A three days consensus seminar was organized around 4 sessions, each of 4 hours, focusing on four research questions. Participatory and Appreciative Action and Reflection (PAAR) was chosen to detect core phenomena in BBAT. Manifest content analysis was preferred to identify the most important phenomena. Delphi Technique was chosen to identify the most important statements describing BBAT and most relevant theories in BBAT. 21 clinical experts from 10 European countries participated: 13 BBAT teacher and 8 candidates, 17 women and 4 men (range 30-70 years). They were organized in 3 groups according to criteria. Four BBAT researchers were in charge of the consensus-process. One external researcher collected the data and critical overviewed the consensus process. Data analysis was carried out during 8 month. The researchers analyzed data, alternatively in group of two and within the whole research group. Ethical considerations were followed, using written informed consent signed by all 21 participants. Results: The participants were highly involved during the data generating process, changing between working individual, in small groups and in the whole seminar group, agreeing on consensus at the end of each session. Each research questions included from 4 to 11 steps. Consensus on core phenomena revealed 8 themes, Movement Quality, Perspectives, Historical Roots, Therapeutic Factors, Self-experience, Practical Aspects and Research Assessment tools, each with 4-7 subthemes. Consensus on the most important phenomena revealed Movement Quality, Therapeutic Communication and Movement Awareness Training as most important, based on calculation, illustrated in a Bar-plot. Consensus of the most important statements describing BBAT, revealed 16 (of 35) statements with 100% agreement. Consensus on the most relevant theories, revealed a theory including four main themes: background-theory, therapeutic factors and movement pedagogy, movement quality and research methodology. Conclusion(s): A research process and data to establish a theoretical base in BBAT is provided. The structure of the consensus process can be implemented to establish theory, based on physiotherapy experts. The theory can function as a fundament in an evidence-based-physiotherapy within movement awareness training/learning. Implications: The promising results call for new research with larger power to develop movement quality and movement awareness learning as distinct phenomena in physiotherapy.




Skjaerven, L. H., Mattsson, M., Parker, A. R., Catalan-Matamoros, D., Gard, G., & Gyllensten, A. L. (2015). Consensus on the theory of basic body awareness therapy – qualitative action research implemented into the movement awareness domain. Physiotherapy, 101, e1405–e1406.

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