Translated by Soline Lacroix
Water is a psychomotor mediation whose use is possible as well with the baby as with the elderly.
Especially practiced for the treatment of the psychosis and the autism, its presence during the care may be interesting and potentially therapeutic. Water allows the experiment of unique sensations, impossible to perceive in a psychomotricity room or in any other mediation.
When the body is plunged into the water, it is no longer subject to the laws of the gravity and is carried by this huge liquid. The movements of the body seem then easier and wider within the pool. In the water the body makes the subject explore completely new and strange sensations compared to what is lived out of the pool (or we should say « on the contact with air »). In the domain of the psychomotricity the properties of water are of great value: water is indestructible, transformable and very sensitive to the environment variations. Water follows the borders and the gestures of the body and interacts with its movements. The subject can be totally immersed, and gaining so a second corporal skin.
The attendance of a therapist offers a comforting setting to the patient who is engaging himself to various sensorimotor experimentations within the pool: he may tap the water, make it spatter on the others, make slide it between his fingers, notice the impermeability of the body, have fun inside/outside, with the hot/cold and with the surface/depth by entering and getting out one or several parts of his body. But he may also feel it drawing and delimiting the borders of his body, helping himself to grow his material perception. The presence and the verbalization of the therapist help the subject to make sense to what he is experiencing.
However, the sensations could be perceived by some patients as really confusing because the water projects their emotions and anxieties (fear to be dissolved in it, to be fragmented, to lose the landmarks…). Then each therapeutic care is unique and depends on the will, the desire and the feeling of the patient.
To multi-disabled children, hot water has an analgesic effect alleviating and waking up motor solutions which were inhibited by pain. In addition, water decreases the emotional factor. She may bring a content and a bodily coherence to each one having no symbolized own body.
Water can mediate the game with the autistic child, in order to encourage the relation and the interaction.
So, water is a mediation often used during the psychomotor care, enabling special sensorial and motor experimentations which are different from the daily environment and make rediscover unique sensations remembering the intrauterine life.
- « Le corps et l’eau » by Catherine POTEL
- « Psychomotricité, psychoses et autismes infantiles » by Jérôme BOUTINAUD