Asociación Española de Fisioterapia en Salud Mental, AEF-SM

Una especialidad de la Fisioterapia



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An International clinical post-graduate study program of Physiotherapy in Mental Health

60 ECTS, University of Almeria (UAL), Spain


Applications for the 4th edition (January-December 2024) are welcome from 1st February 2023 (apply here)

Watch the 2 minutes BBAM video

Download the BBAM Booklet

Please note that the 4th edition will follow a hybrid model including online sessions and 1 study visit to the Almeria University Campus (5 consecutive days expected in June 2024)

During 2023, you can still attend the introductory online session that are organised by Prof. Dr. Liv Helvik Skjaerven. You can contact at



The 3rd edition of BBAM at University of Almeria was successfully completed in December 2022 with a new international group of students graduated!

Congratulations to you all!

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  1. Historical background


The program was prepared during 1980-90ties through courses within the Norwegian Association of Physiotherapy, Subsection of Physiotherapy in Mental Health. In line with the professional development, the rise of research and Evidence-Based Practice (EBP), there was a need to develop the courses into a university official study program. As a result, Basic Body Awareness Methodology (BBAM), started as a university post-graduate study program at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) in 2003. Since then, the program has been revised every second year, and the curriculum provides didactic, skill acquisition, accomplishing clinical projects with updated leaning outcome and references.


BBAM was primarily designed as a two-year international, part-time study program (60 ECTS) based on a governmental initiated request for internationalization. From 2003 to 2017, the program has been developed and leaded by Prof. Liv Helvik Skjaerven who has completed 7 editions including more than 100 students from all over the World: Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Turkey, Austria, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, UK, Estonia, Faro Islands, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Denmark and Norway. The BBAM education has reached a high international reputation and it has received a high recognition and support by many national physiotherapy associations and universities around the Globe.




                      Photo: Group of BBAM students graduated in 2017                                                  Photo: Group of BBAM students graduated in 2015



                        Photos: Lectures held in Bergen University College at the postgraduate education Basic Body Awareness Methodology


  1. The future BBAM education


Since 2017, the BBAM education headquarters moves from Norway to Spain although lecturers from several countries will participate in the teaching activities to ensure internalization of content and exchange of competences between universities – this is rewarding for both staff and students. The University of Almeria is hosting the new ‘Master of Physiotherapy – BBAM’ offering a 60 ECTS program adapted to the international physiotherapy community and following the World Confederation of Physical Therapy guidelines on education (


The University of Almeria (in Spanish: Universidad de Almeria, UAL) is a public university situated in Almeria, on the south coast of Spain. The University Campus is located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, and it offers 38 different degree programmes, with 871 lecturers, and 11,628 students. The University is composed by the following faculties: Health Sciences, Polytechnics, Labour Relations, Economics and Business Studies, Natural Sciences, Education, Law, Humanities and Psychology. More information can be found at


Photo: Campus of University of Almeria



                                     Photo: Faculty of Health Sciences                                                         Photo: University of Almeria Paraninfo




  1. Education framework


Long-lasting musculoskeletal disorders and mental health problems are current leading causes of disability (Hagberg, 2012). Physiotherapists have a central role in the treatment of these disorders (WCPT, 2012). To obtain a positive treatment outcome, it is important for the physiotherapists to understand how life experiences and diseases can foster lack of contact with the body, expressed in human movement and function (Laisnè, 2011).


The structure of the BBAM PT MSc builds on three important educational and therapeutic principles all from the view of human movement, movement quality and movement awareness learning: 1) person centered, 2) health directed and 3) process oriented. BBAM methodology builds on principles of Basic Body Awareness Therapy (BBAT), the physiotherapeutic approach, officially accepted in Norway and Sweden since the 1980-ties. The program qualifies the physiotherapist in the body – and movement awareness learning program, re-establishing contact with the body, movement quality, movement habits and ways of being, enhancing personal insight and coping strategies. 



3.1.        Conceptual element of BBAM - Human movement is more than physical exercise


The conceptual elements of BBAM are weaving a multi-perspective view into teaching and learning. Thus, anatomical, physiological, psychological, social, cultural and existential components are integrated to strengthen the person`s self-identity through movement. The curriculum embraces 1) Theory, included research methodology and methods, 2) Skill training, 3) Clinical implementation in individual and group therapeutic settings, 4) Personal-training in the BBAT-movement awareness learning program, and 5) clinical projects, including to communicate the content to patients, health team and society.


BBAM is developed from the clinical hypothesis of the three-fold contact problem, the person’s lack of contact with the physical body, inner life, external environment and in the relation to other persons`. 


Becoming aware means directing attention to mentally contact with the body and its movements, monitoring internal sensations and external environment, providing sensitivity to experiences. (Brown and Ryan, 2003) The specific movement pedagogy includes elements directed towards the physiotherapist acquiring a personal know-how in the BBAT-movements, embodying a span of movement elements and aspects, through presence in and awareness of movement potentials, providing insight as a basis for treating others.


BBAM focuses on teaching BBAT-movements, situations and projects designed to involve the person during learning. The program includes movement co-ordinations mirroring everyday life, lying, sitting, standing, walking, relational movements, use of the voice and massage (touch). The movements are simple, small and soft, intended to foster functional movement quality and habits, learning new movement strategies. The physiotherapist learns to acts as a guide, bridging the therapy situation with the persons` everyday life and needs.



3.2.        An eye for movement quality and health


BBAM, as BBAT, is known for its focus on movement quality, “how the movements are performed in relation to space, time and energy”, the quality in the movement patterns and personal experiences. Postural stability, free breathing and mental awareness are key elements, when integrated into movements, promoting more functional movement quality, wellbeing and health. When integrating movement aspects into movement quality, a set of therapeutic factors, including the Movement Awareness Learning Cycle, provides the learner with steps to follow, including conceptualization and reflection on experiences. This fosters meaning and insight in coping strategies closely related to life situations. 



3.3.Its contribution in physiotherapy


BBAM at HVL, Bergen, Norway has been the learning arena through 14 years for more than 100 English speaking licensed Physiotherapists, from 19 countries at 4 continents, and it has been an arena for 14 BBAT clinicians and/or academics becoming teachers in BBAT, from countries in Europe and Asia. BBAM at HVL has also been the arena for many clinical research projects, and thus a base of further professionalization of the body- and movement awareness domain in physiotherapy.    


Within the field of BBAT, research has demonstrated that persons suffering from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic diseases have benefitted from BBAT. Research reveals that participants become more aware of their body as a means to connect to oneself and to life, attuning inner sensations and emotions as well as relating to other people and actions in life. Pioneering research in this field has developed since the first PhD in 1985 by G Roxendal, in Sweden.



3.4.Needs in society – Needs in Physiotherapy

BBAM is increasingly attracting international interest. Obviously, there is a need for physiotherapy qualification to meet the documented increase of people suffering from long-lasting multi-perspective musculoskeletal and mental health problems. BBAM as well as BBAT, involves the student and patient, providing practical skills and insight for professional and/or personal use. Its movement principles and therapeutic strategies, terminology and ethical values, are reported from BBAM-students being innovative and clinical important. When implementing awareness strategies, the therapist need to be conscious of the fact that increased awareness may be associated with a tendency to become too preoccupied with bodily signals and sensations, intensifying them and interpreting them as symptoms (Hansell, Sherman and Mechanic, 1991; Mehling et al., 2012). This needs to be managed by the physiotherapist.Affiliation University of California San Francisco, Institute for Health & Aging, Center for Aging in Diverse Communities, San Francisco, California, United States of America



Our goal, when creating BBAM, was to develop an educational program for mental health physiotherapists in need of professional skills, treating persons suffering from long-lasting muscle-skeletal and mental health problems, psychiatric disorders and psychosomatic problems. Creating BBAM the goal was also to strengthen the physiotherapists’ identity, both from the professional and personal perspectives.


As academic and clinical educators, we are advocates of an evidence-based practice, with high professional standard. Increased scientific training in physiotherapy is emphasizing logic and sound methods. Physiotherapy degree program must, however, prepare students for meeting patients in lack of contact with own body and feelings, integrating multi-perspective components in physiotherapy. Combining skills, learning to promote movement quality through the BBAT-movement awareness program together with objective tools of scientific methods and EBP (knowledge based + experience based + client/patient based), is not just an educational strategy, preparing physiotherapists in solving clinical problems within mental health physiotherapy – it adds meaning and involves and motivates the student as well as the patient.



    Photos: Photos of the International Association of Teachers in Basic Body Awareness Therapy



  1. The program



3.1.                Study method


The program of the Master is pursued through a combination of practical and online education. The program is designed to give students maximum flexibility in progressing through the Master degree while also strategically offering in the format best suited for effective educational training. With these available formats, the entire degree may be earned without relocating to Spain.


Courses which are offered online, because of their unique advantage, are pursued through the intensive learning method. These intensive online-courses are designed to serve those in various parts of the World who are entrenched in their current jobs and without the ability to relocate to Spain. This is also because students can start implementing what they learn immediately following a close-to-practice learning process. Preparatory and follow-up online courses take place before and after the intensive online practice weeks. Students have to follow each term in order to complete the study requirement. This has to do with the “flow” in the learning, based on the structure of the Master the learning is following a stepwise progress.


The study programme is designed on educational principles of personal experience and integration of the BBAM methodology and principles making the student work interactive. This is achieved through a variety of pedagogical methods constantly changing between theory, clinical studies, personal training, group work, problem solving written assignments, through seminars, lectures and project work. Intensive "floor work", role-play and case studies cover selected areas of the curriculum.


The students collaborate online using the Learning Management Systems at UAL in the period of self-study at home, individual and in organized groups. The work-demand for the student is to send one (1) assignment pr. course to UAL for evaluation. The student must have access to computer and basic computer skills to work and interact online. A webcam, speakers, microphone and good broadband internet are mandatory.


3.2.                Program length


The program is optimally completed in one year (January – December). The study program is organized as a full time study over one year. The curriculum (60 ECTS) includes three (3) modules: 1) Health, physiotherapy and society, 2) Basic Body Awareness Methodology, and 3) Evidence-based clinical practice and research.


There are five online blocks (1 week each block, Monday to Friday, 13:00 – 17:00, Almeria time zone) of mandatory attendance, and five online seminars (2-3 days each) which are strongly recommended to attend. All these blocks and seminars will be recorded and available as study materials for the students.


The student is responsible for organizing the periods of self-study in line with recommendations in the curriculum and guidance received by the lecturers. The period of self-study includes: study of theory, clinical practice, personal training in the BBAM methodology, written assignments and project work.


3.3.                Clinical practice


Clinical practice means to implement the BBAM methodology and principles into person-centred physiotherapy. During online and blocks education, students will intensively be involved in movement practice, floor work from the clinical perspective which will be facilitated by both university lecturers and guest clinicians.


During the online education, students have to document that they have a clinical practice for both individual and group physiotherapy. The student is responsible to find workplace/clients and to document the clinical work; all has to be accepted by the practice-coordinator. The candidate is responsible to arrange for and follow national physiotherapy regulations. Moreover, the student will be assigned a practice supervisor to arrange online clinical consultations.


Clinical practice is estimated to 150 hours clinical work (6 ECTS) during the whole academic year having both individual and group physiotherapy, 75 hours each. In the group physiotherapy the student is to arrange for smaller and larger groups, over a period of 8-10 times, each approximately of 60 minutes. In both individual and group settings the student is to arrange for situations to follow the patient/ client over shorter and longer periods. Clinical practice is to be documented by sending a signed documentation.


The students receive supervision on clinical implementation of BBAM, its methodology, each of the block education terms. During this time, supervision is given during skill training, personal training, movement guidance, role-play and case presentation (films). In the periods of self-study during the online education, the students are organized in groups for periodic meetings on Skype or Meets. Supervision is given individual and in groups by teachers at BBAM on assignments, which are based on structured reports of clinical cases. The amount of personal training/“floor-work” in the BBAM movement and its principles is estimated to 30 hours for each of the two terms. The students are to send one (1) report on self-training in each of the two terms, supervised by teachers at BBAM.


In addition the student is responsible for arranging and receiving supervision on psychological aspects on the BBAM practice, 2 hours, in each of the two terms. The supervision on psychological aspects on the BBAM practice shall be led by an authorized Psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologist, Psychotherapist or Physiotherapist specialized in Psychiatry and/or Mental Health. The supervision must be documented and accepted by UAL.





3.4.                Program and lecturers


The Master of Physiotherapy in BBAM is awarded to students who successfully fulfill the requirements of the following courses.


The required courses (ECTS Credits) are organized as follows in three modules:


Each course will have a main lecturer and when needed, there will be guest lecturers in some of the courses.


Module 1) Health, physiotherapy and society (15 ECTS)

a)    Introduction to Physiotherapy in Mental Health (3 ECTS)

b)    Health, salutogenesis and society (3 ECTS)

c)     Mental health and psychiatric diseases (3 ECTS)

d)    Movement science function and interrelationship (3 ECTS)

e)    Movement interventions in mental health (3 ECTS)       


Module 2) Basic Body Awareness Methodology (30 ECTS)

a)    BBAM 1 – Evaluation tools and individual therapy (12 ECTS)

b)    Communication of BBAM principles (6 ECTS)

c)     BBAM 2 – Therapeutic factors and group therapy (12 ECTS)


Module 3) Evidence-based clinical practice and research (15 ECTS)

a)    Research methodology (3 ECTS)

b)    Clinical practice (6 ECTS)

c)     Master Thesis (6 ECTS)


Key lecturers:

  • Liv Helvik Skjaerven, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway
  • Patricia Rocamora Pérez, UAL, Spain
  • Remedios López Liria, UAL, Spain
  • Lena Nyboe, Aahrus University, Denmark
  • Sirpa Ahola, Metropolia University, Finland
  • Aarid Liland Olsen, UIB, Norway
  • Manuel Hernández Padilla, UAL, Spain
  • Daniel Catalan, UC3M, Spain


Besides de above, guest experts in Basic Body Awareness Therapy from other countries will participate in the teaching.



3.5.                Important dates (these were for the 2022, the 2024 ones will be similar)



New groups start every 2nd year since 2018. It means that there will be a new group starting in 2020, in 2022, 2024, etc.

Please note that in 2022 the program will be 100% online.


Start of Master

12. January 2022

Online BBAM Blocks

Block 1

Block 2

Block 3

Block 4

Block 5

17 – 21 January 2022

07 – 11 March 2022

06 – 10 June 2022

12 – 16 September 2022

12 – 16 December 2022


- Blocks 1-5 are of obligatory attendance. Monday – Friday 13:00 – 17:00 (Almeria zone time). In addition, five seminars of voluntary attendance will be organized of 2-3 days each between blocks.

- The online BBAM blocks and seminars are part of subjects BBAM 1 and 2.

Clinical Practice

Period January – December 2022

Agreed between the student and clinical practice coordinator

Master Thesis

Period: February – December 2022

Defense: 12 – 16 December 2022

Extra-call for Exams

21 – 25 November 2022

University is closed

Easter: 11 – 15 April 2022

Summer: 16 July – 31 August 2022

End of Master

19 December 2022


2024, 4th edition: The program for 2024 will slightly change as there will be 1 study visit of 5 days to the Campus of the University of Almeria for movement practice.


3.6.                Entry requirement


Applicants should have obtained a Bachelor's degree in Physiotherapy, English oral and written skills might be required. 



3.7.                Learning outcomes


After completion of the study program, the student will have acquired the following learning outcomes, defined as knowledge, skills and general competence:



  • view on human beings within an existential and phenomenological tradition
  • multi-dimensional perspectives to physiotherapy in mental health and disease
  • a salutogenic approach in physiotherapy
  • how life experiences and diseases are expressed in the human body, movement, function and relationships
  • historical roots to the movement awareness traditions in general and in BBAM in particular 
  • European history of  and approaches to physiotherapy in the field of mental health
  • the theory of BBAT and its principles
  • the phenomenon of movement quality, its vocabulary and movement pedagogy
  • discriminate between awareness, body awareness and movement awareness
  • evaluation tools in BBAT
  • therapeutic factors, in individual and group physiotherapy
  • group theory, group-processes and leadership
  • communication and interaction processes in BBAT
  • research methodology



  • clinical implementing BBAM, including its multi-perspective aspects
  • implementing BBAM in individual and group physiotherapy
  • guiding movement quality, lying, sitting, standing, walking, use of voice, relational movements and massage (touch) 
  • communicating and handling patients/client`s experiences and reflections 
  • using the BBAM-movements, its perspectives, element and aspects,
  • using the evaluation tools of BBAM
  • observing, describing, scoring, clinical reason and promoting movement quality
  • clinical reasoning by evaluating, making decisions, constructing specific plans to achieve these, taking into account relevant contextual factors and to implement and communicate these into physiotherapy based on the best available evidence and experience
  • presenting and implementing physiotherapy research in mental health and in BBAM, in particular  
  • carrying out individual, limited project in BBAM, demonstrating use of qualitative research method
  • dealing critically with Evidence and Experienced Based Practice in relation to the BBAM principles 


General competence

  • applying a multi-perspective view of BBAM, in clinical practice, in mental health, in rehabilitation, in health promotion and in preventive health care, through the lifespan
  • applying a methodology that is oriented towards health, well-being, resources and coherence
  • applying the physiotherapists role and action in mental health especially relate to human moevement
  • communicating theory and clinical implementation of BBAM, to patients, co-workers, in the multi-professional team, in society and at research conferences 
  • contributing to new thinking of BBAM, from a global and cultural point of view


3.8.                Mandatory attendance requirement


Full attendance at the online blocks learning periods (100%) is mandatory because the working methods in the programme are based on floor-work with movement sessions, group work, dialogue and discussion, which draw on the professional experience and academic qualifications of the students. Without students' attendance the learning outcome of the programme is not achieved. The specific dates are published above, Monday-Friday 13:00 – 17:00. In addition, there will be five seminars of 2-3 days each during the year. Attendance to these seminars is not mandatory, however we strongly recommend to attend them.


In cases where non-attendance is beyond the student’s control, for example documented illness, non-attendance up to 20% might be tolerated under special circumstances. Non-attendance must be compensated as agreed with the program lecturers.


3.9.                Internationalization


BBAM is directed towards physiotherapist, internationally. BBAM is taught by lecturers from countries such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Finland and Spain. There is a good mixture of academics and clinical practitioners. The leading international academics and researchers in Physiotherapy in Mental Health are teaching at BBAM.



3.10.             Assessment, exams, and course work requirements


The student is continually evaluated according to theory, practical/oral skills and professional development during the on-campus periods and through the obligatory written assignments during the self-study periods. Film might be used for evaluation of practical/ clinical skills.


The student is evaluated through each of the courses, at the end of each course, containing a variety of assessments such as debates in online classrooms, assignments, questionnaires, practical/oral exam, etc. In general, courses will be evaluated by different ways such as using a portfolio, reports on self-experience and self-training, clinical projects, assignments, films on guiding, project presentations and exams.


The Master thesis will focus on the clinical implementation of BBAM, so only clinical projects will be accepted.


3.11.             Obligatory literature


BBAM has 1700 pages of obligatory literature given by UAL. In addition comes 300 pages of references related to the courses in term 1 (100p) and term 2 (200p), chosen by the candidate and accepted by UAL.




  1. Fee and Registration


The Master fee is 2700 € for the whole Master education of 60 ECTS. Since the University has established a limited number of students in the Master program, we're following a first come, first served approach for the acceptance process. The University requests a fee deposit of 200 € during the registration process. This deposit is reduced from the total Master fee eventually so the remaining Master fee is 2500 €. We strongly recommend you to register soonest. A waiting list will be created when the Master is fully booked.


Register here from 1st February


For any question you are welcome to write to one of the team members


  1. Travelling and staying in Almería (not needed for 3rd edition students, year 2022, as it will be online)


The city of Almeria has an international airport with the following destinations:

·         Madrid (Iberia)

·         Barcelona (Vueling airlines)

·         Brussels – Charleroi (Ryanair)

·         London – Gatwick (Easyjet)

·         London – Stansted (Ryanair)


Besides of the above, there are other international airports close to Almeria:

·         Malaga (approx. 2,5 - 3 hours by direct bus)

·         Granada (2,5 hours by direct train)

·         Alicante (from the airport of Alicante, approximately 3.5 hours by direct bus)

·         Madrid (bus and train around 6-7 hours, or flights at 1 hour)


The University of Almeria has a University accommodation building with the following prices:

Besides the University accommodation, students can also contact locals to rent a room or a full apartment:


Related links:

Informative poster BBAM 2015-17

Download the BBAM Booklet

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