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Satisfaction and specific and non-specific therapy factors: haptotherapy from a patient perspective

17 November 2021 | Research 2021 |

Klabbers G. A., Vingerhoets A. J. J. M.
Keywords| Chronic pain| Haptotherapy| IJHH| non-specific therapy factors| patient perspective.| specific therapy factors| therapy factors



The main aim of this study was to assess patient satisfaction with haptotherapy treatment and to identify aspects of the therapy that patients consider essential for recovery. The study also aimed to evaluate to what extent patient satisfaction was influenced by the haptotherapist’s educational background and by the type of  complaints for which the patient consulted a haptotherapist.


During four weeks, Dutch haptotherap0ists asked all their patients aged 18 and older to complete a digital questionnaire at home after the haptotherapy treatment. Satisfaction with the haptotherapist was measured with questions about the haptotherapist’s understanding, involvement, listening attitude, and expertise, about the patient’s experience of the therapeutic touch, and about what the patient had learned from the treatment (measured on a 5-point Likert scale (1-5)). The questionnaire also examined the presumed therapeutic importance of six therapy factors: (1) patient expectation and confidence that haptotherapy helps; (2) professional practice setting in which the therapy took place; (3) patient motivation and involvement; (4) therapeutic touch; (5) insightful conversations; and (6) the therapist. Open-ended
questions were asked about what patients had learned from the therapeutic touch, the skills exercises, and the insight- providing conversations, and which treatment factors had most affected them.


Seventy-two participating haptotherapists received 640 completed questionnaires, 500 from women and 140 from men. The respondents’ average age was 46 years. Patient satisfaction was high regarding the haptotherapists’ understanding (4.6), involvement (4.6), listening attitude (4.7), and expertise (4.4). The ratings for the six investigated therapy factors differed significantly (F(5.3834) = 83.003, p < .001). The factors ‘therapeutic touch’, ‘insightful conversations’ and ‘the therapist’ all scored significantly higher than the factors ‘patient expectation and confidence that haptotherapy helps’, ‘professional practice setting in which the therapy took place’ and ‘motivation and involvement of the patient’ (p < .001). Satisfaction did not appear to depend on the background and education of the haptotherapist, as patients treated by haptotherapists with different training backgrounds did not differ significantly in their scores for (1) patient satisfaction with the haptotherapist, (2) appreciation of the various specific and aspecific therapy factors and (3) the experience of therapeutic touch.


Patients are very satisfied with haptotherapy, and they attribute great value to the therapeutic touch, the insightful conversations, and the personality of the haptotherapist. It seems to be that the therapeutic touch, the insight-providing conversations, and the skills exercises constitute a coherent whole within haptotherapy from a patient perspective. Further research could determine if and how the treatment of patients with depressive symptoms can be improved. The educational background of the haptotherapist does not appear to influence satisfaction, and satisfaction hardly differed between patients with different indications.

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Volume 9

No. 3
  • Publication date:
    November 17, 2021
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How to cite (apa)
Klabbers, G. A., & Vingerhoets, A. J. (2021). Satisfaction and specific and non-specific therapy factors: haptotherapy from a patient perspective. In International Journal of Haptonomy and Haptotherapy (Vol. 9, Issue 3, pp. 20-29).
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