To What Extend Can Physical Activity Influence Psychological Health in a Forensic Psychiatric Context?

The initial aim of the project was to determine the status-quo of sports therapy in the forensic psychiatric context. More and more, the focus of the project will shift towards different pathological patterns and the potential of physical activity to influence them. In this project we investigate the impact of sport on mental health and whether it is feasible to implement sport in the clinical process in a forensic psychiatric context. This project is funded by the Centre of Psychiatry Reichenau, where the physical activity intervention will be realized. Four sports therapists work with patients of four forensic wards on a weekly basis. They are responsible for planning and organising physical activity sessions in individual and group settings in the clinical environment and in certain off-site settings (e.g. rock climbing).

Impressions and experiences are shared with experienced psychologists, as well as the station’s staff, during supervision meetings. Those meetings are an important component of the activity intervention to estimate to what extent this activity intervention can be implemented in a forensic psychiatric context. They provide the opportunity to exchange experiences and reactions of the patients, the clinical staff as well as the sports therapists. Furthermore, challenges and solutions in relation to the organization of the activity intervention will be discussed.

The project’s duration was extended in 2016 for seven years.