3 years ago

A case series report of cancer patients undergoing group body psychotherapy [version 1; referees: 2 approved]

Rainer Schaefert, Astrid Grossert, Gunther Meinlschmidt
Background: Disturbances in bodily wellbeing represent a key source of psychosocial suffering and impairment related to cancer. Therefore, interventions to improve bodily wellbeing in post-treatment cancer patients are of paramount importance. Notably, body psychotherapy (BPT) has been shown to improve bodily wellbeing in subjects suffering from a variety of mental disorders. However, how post-treatment cancer patients perceive and subjectively react to group BPT aiming at improving bodily disturbances has, to the best of our knowledge, not yet been described. Methods: We report on six patients undergoing outpatient group BPT that followed oncological treatment for malignant neoplasms. The BPT consisted of six sessions based on a scientific embodiment approach, integrating body-oriented techniques to improve patients’ awareness, perception, acceptance, and expression regarding their body. Results: The BPT was well accepted by all patients. Despite having undergone different types of oncological treatment for different cancer types and locations, all subjects reported having appreciated BPT and improved how they perceived their bodies. However, individual descriptions of improvements showed substantial heterogeneity across subjects. Notably, most patients indicated that sensations, perceptions, and other mental activities related to their own body intensified when proceeding through the group BPT sessions. Conclusion: The findings from this case series encourage and inform future studies examining whether group BPT is efficacious in post-treatment cancer patients and investigating the related mechanisms of action. The observed heterogeneity in individual descriptions of perceived treatment effects point to the need for selecting comprehensive indicators of changes in disturbances of bodily wellbeing as the primary patient-reported outcome in future clinical trials. While increases in mental activities related to their own body are commonly interpreted as important mechanisms of therapeutic action in BPT, follow-up assessments are needed to evaluate intended and unintended consequences of these changes in cancer patients.

Publisher URL: https://f1000research.com/articles/6-1646/v1

DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.12262.1

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