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Volume 7 (2007), Pages 310-316
Research Article

Clinical Holistic Medicine (Mindful, Short-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Complemented with Bodywork) in the Treatment of Experienced Physical Illness and Chronic Pain

1Quality of Life Research Center, Teglgårdstræde 4-8, DK-1452 Copenhagen K, Denmark
2Research Clinic for Holistic Medicine, Copenhagen, Denmark
3Nordic School of Holistic Medicine, Copenhagen, Denmark
4Scandinavian Foundation for Holistic Medicine, Sandvika, Norway
5Interuniversity College, Graz, Austria
6Zusman Child Development Center, Soroka University Medical Center, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
7National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Jerusalem, Israel
8Office of the Medical Director, Division for Mental Retardation, Ministry of Social Affairs, Jerusalem, Israel

Received 5 December 2006; Revised 30 January 2007; Accepted 31 January 2007

Academic Editor: Hatim A. Omar

Copyright © 2007 Søren Ventegodt et al.


We investigated the treatment effect of psychodynamic short-term therapy complemented with bodywork on patients who presented with physical illness at the Research Clinic for Holistic Medicine in Copenhagen. Psychodynamic short-term therapy was complemented with bodywork (Marion Rosen) to help patients confront old emotional pain from childhood trauma(s). Patients were measured with a five-item quality of life and health questionnaire (QOL5), a one-item questionnaire of self-assessed quality of life (QOL1), and four questions on self-rated ability to love and to function sexually, socially, and at work (ability to sustain a full-time job). Most of the patients had chronic pain that could not be alleviated with drugs. Results showed that 31 patients with the experience of being severely physically ill (mostly from chronic pain), in spite of having consulted their own general practitioner, entered the study. The holistic approach and body therapy accelerated the therapy dramatically and no significant side effects were detected. After the intervention, 38.7% did not feel ill (1.73 < NNT < 4.58) (p = 0.05). Psychodynamic short-term therapy complemented with bodywork can help patients. When the patients responded to the therapy, the self-assessed mental health, relationship with partner, ability to work, self-assessed quality of life, relationships in general, measured QOL (with the validated questionnaire QOL5), and life's total state (mean of health, QOL and ability) were significantly improved, statistically and clinically. Most importantly, all aspects of life were improved simultaneously, due to induction of Antonovsky-salutogenesis. The patients received in average 20 sessions over 14 months at a cost of 1600 EURO. For the treatment responders, the treatment seemingly provided lasting benefits.