Conversion gait disordermeeting patients in behaviour, reuniting body and mind

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 2 (2):185 – 199 (2008)
The Hospital for Rehabilitation, Stavern, in Norway has treated patients with physical symptoms with no organic cause, so called conversion disorder patients, for over a decade. For four years research on the treatment has been carried out. Patients with conversion disorder seem not to fit in traditional somatic hospitals because their patienthood depends upon psychiatric diagnosis. Ironically, they appear not to belong in psychiatric hospitals because of their physical symptoms. The treatment offered these patients at hospitals for rehabilitation is adapted physical activity consisting of behaviour elements such as positive reinforcement of normal function and lack of positive reinforcement at dysfunction. The pedagogical approach is seen as crucial in the successful rehabilitation of the patients. The disorder and treatment can be understood by using theories about the ecstatic body, radical behaviourism and phenomenology. When patients have problems in behaviour concerning both body and mind, it would be natural to employ both in the road to recovery. This article describes the various treatments and discusses them from phenomenological, ethical and philosophical perspectives
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DOI 10.1080/17511320802223493
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