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UAE to introduce new therapy for treating mental illnesses

Psychomotor therapy is being brought to the UAE for the first time

Mark Soubiran, general manager of International Affairs at Higher Institute for Psychomotor Rehabilitation
Mark Soubiran, general manager of International Affairs at Higher Institute for Psychomotor Rehabilitation

By Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Thu 27 Jan 2022, 4:56 PM

A new rehabilitation technique for patients with neurological disorders is coming to the UAE.

Healthcare professionals and nurses will have access to training programmes in psychomotor therapy (PMT), a innovative treatment for those facing mental and neurological dysfunctionalities.

The French-based Higher Institute for Psychomotor Rehabilitation (ISRP) will be bringing the containing education programmes in the UAE - the first time it is being brought to the region - to train occupational, physical and speech therapists and nurses to address neurological dysfunctionalities.

The therapy will address neurological dysfunctions in premature babies, children with learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, and mental illnesses and neurological disorders, such as Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease in adults.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of Arab Health, Mark Soubiran, general manager of International Affairs at ISRP, said PMT, a rehabilitation technique adopted in France, works on the neurological source of a physical or behavioural disorder as a symptom of a more general neurological dysfunction.

“We all use our psychomotor system to interact with and adapt to the outside world. This system is composed of motor skills, space and time orientation, body scheme, muscle tone, memory and executive functions. If one of these items is altered by pathology or outside disturbance, patients will have difficulty adapting to their environment,” said Soubiran.

He added that the principle of PMT is that work is done on or through the body to either fix the disabled neurological function or use brain plasticity for a combination of other functions to compensate for a disorder.

“PMT uses the body as a mediator, channelling neurofeedback as the principle behind the rehabilitation process,” said Soubiran.

The continuing education programmes, which range from 15 to 25 days, will train therapists to carry out an assessment for patients to understand the neurological function that has been impacted by a pathology before developing an accustomed therapy plan. Nurses will also gain soft skills and learn how to adapt to patients, which is at the core of PMT.

“An important aspect of PMT is the empathetic approach to the patient. Therapists need to understand the personality and background of patients and pay attention to their emotional and psychological conditions to ensure the therapy’s success,” said Soubiran.


The institute is in talks with UAE hospitals, government agencies and healthcare professionals to introduce the training.

Soubiran noted that choosing the UAE to introduce PMT in the region is due to the country’s tremendous efforts in advancing healthcare.

“To establish a more robust healthcare system, it is important to have a training arm to develop the skills of healthcare professionals throughout their career,” said Soubiran.


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