Therapeutic Encounters with Preterm Infants: Interaction, Posture and Movement

Gunn Kristin Oberg, University of Troms, Norway
Yvette Blanchard, Sacred Heart University
Aud Obstfelder, University of Troms, Norway


Oberg, Gunn Kristin, Yvette Blanchard, and Aud Obstfelder. "Therapeutic Encounters with Preterm Infants: Interaction, Posture and Movement." Physiotherapy Theory & Practice 30.1 (2014): 1-5.

doi: 10.3109/09593985.2013.806621


Background and purpose: Physiotherapy is a common intervention for preterm infants with motor disorders. There is a limited knowledge on how individual and contextual actions influence what is created and achieved in clinical encounters between physiotherapists and infants born preterm. In this theoretical paper the aim is to open a discussion for clinicians in pediatrics to take into consideration that patient interaction might have a significant impact for the outcome. Through introducing theoretical principles based on the phenomenology of the body and enactive intersubjectivity the paper provides a framework for better understanding the contribution that the interactional components in physiotherapy with preterm infants may have. Conclusion: The elaboration shows how social interaction and intentional actions influence each other in therapy. Accordingly, a fundamental driving force for effective physiotherapy intervention in preterm infants may involve a dynamical process of embodied interaction with the generation of meaning between physiotherapist and infant. Clinical implications: Our elaboration suggests that a coordinated process of embodied interaction with preterm infants can enhance motor performance during therapeutic encounters.