Post date: 27-Feb-2017 10:45:57

Jean-Marc Priels, reputable member of our network and Pre-Therapy trainer, passionately works with contact disabled clients and their caretakers. Hence his love for both Pre-Therapy and another contact method: Snoezelen. On the last PTIN meeting in Ghent, Belgium, Jean-Marc demonstrated the touching documentary "Snoezelen" by film-director Idriss Gabel. We discussed whether we recognized elements of Pre-Therapy, and broader, of the person-centred approach in Snoezelen. Pre-therapeutic contact work consists of reflecting, sitting next to the person; it is clear that the approach can be combined with Snoezelen.

The term "snoezelen" is a neologism formed from a blend of the Dutch "snuffelen" (to snuggle, also: to sniff) and "doezelen" (to doze, to snooze). Snoezelen is mostly non-verbal connecting; trying to make the person receptive and open to the sensorial environment, by offering security and providing a multi-sensory experience. The Snoezelen-team wants people to be happy, feel comfortable and relaxed; and to foster well-being. Trust is important, as well as “to be with” the patients. The question is: How can we provide an environment where people can feel safe? An environment that can reduce tension?

Snoezelen sessions take place within a basic structure: there is a clear beginning and a clear end. At Sans Souci hospital, where Jean-Marc organizes Snoezelen sessions for psychotic clients, the coffee break after the session is an important element of the structure. It offers some closure, a return to regular interaction, and a chance to share experiences. One participant wondered about the danger for "pathological fusion.” Jean-Marc clarified that participants and caretakers can have moments of fusion in Snoezelen, but one must also be able to step out again. Although intense emotional processes are observed in those sessions, Jean-Marc has rarely experienced real difficulties.

For more information, visit the international Snoezelen website: