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The Contribution of Psychomotricity to the Development of Socio-Emotion Competencies

Background and aims

To date, children with behavioural difficulties and emotional problems have almost always received development support within a separate therapeutic setting. Due to the re-organisation of special needs provisions, this support will increasingly take place within the framework of the regular classroom environment.

This modification of the school landscape has effects with respect to practical psychomotor therapy: therapeutic work carried out in a separate setting no longer takes priority. Instead, preventative/integrative work in everyday school life is gaining in importance. Here, development of socio-emotional competencies as a prerequisite for successful school learning has an important role to play. This research project shall elucidate the contribution of psychomotricity to the development of these competencies, and provide psychomotor therapists with a proven and evaluated programme for the specific promotion of socio-emotional competencies within an inclusive school setting.


The study explored the question of whether improvements in social-emotional competences can be found in children, age 5 – 9, who attended psychomotricity therapy during five to six months, irrespective of the reasons why they went to therapy. In order to answer these questions the social-emotional competences of 46 children, attending psychomotricity therapy, were identified in the fall of 2010, and a second time after 5 to 6 months or after 20 therapy hours in the spring of 2011. The test was carried out based on the subscale „social-emotional competence“ of the Intelligence and Development Scales (IDS-SEK) by Grob, Meyer and Hagmann-von Arx (2009). This test procedure measures the social and emotional competences of children, age 5 to 10, in the four dimensions „recognizing emotions“, „regulating emotions“, „understanding social situations“ and „acting socially competent“. The assessment of the social and emotional behaviour of the therapy child through the teacher took place by means of the „Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire“ (SDQ) by Goodmann (1999).


The results of our surveys showed that the social and emotional competences of the therapy children improved significantly, irrespective of their age, the type of school they are attending, the type of recreational activities, the reasons for going to psychomotricity therapy, the therapy goals and additional therapies or special needs educational activities. On the whole, this also reaffirms the survey with kindergarten teachers and teachers on the social-emotional behaviour of these children in a school context. More detailed information on the results is available in below-mentioned documents.


  • Amft, S., Boveland, B., Hensler, K. & Uehli Stauffer, B. (2012). Mitschwingen und Resonanz-bereitschaft. Eine Studie zu den theoretischen Konzeptionen und beruflichem Selbstverständnis von Psychomotoriktherapeutinnen. Motorik, 35 (110-117).
  • Amft, S.; Boveland, B.; Hensler Häberlin, K. & Uehli Stauffer B. (2012). Beitrag der Psychomotoriktherapie zur Förderung sozio-emotionaler Kompetenzen. Ergebnisse. Zürich: Interkantonale Hochschule für Heilpädagogik.
  • Amft, S.; Boveland, B.; Hensler Häberlin, K. & Uehli Stauffer B. (2011). Beitrag der Psychomotoriktherapie zur Förderung sozio-emotionaler Kompetenzen. Forschungsbericht. Zürich: Interkantonale Hochschule für Heilpädagogik.



Project Management

Prof.  Amft

Leiterin Institut für Verhalten, sozio-emotionale und psychomotorische Entwicklungsförderung


Forschung und Entwicklung
Tel: +41 44 317 11 81

zfe[at] zfe