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The Chat with Dr.

Dave
David P. Sanchez, Psy.D., LMFT
Therapeutic Thoughts of the Week

Integration of trampoline use within an outpatient mental health setting


Introduction
The purpose of this weeks Therapeutic Thoughts of the Week is to highlight the therapeutic
benefit and application of trampoline use within an outpatient mental health setting with children
between the ages 2-11 years old. The author is a former New Hampshire State Floor Exercise
Gymnastics Champion and is a classically trained dancer in the mediums of ballet, modern, and
jazz. The author has trained in Dance Movement Therapy and for many years as a Psy.D.
Licensed Marital and Family Therapist has implemented movement within his therapeutic work
with children and adults. The author recognizes the benefit of utilizing other methods such as
movement to elicit behavioral change versus just utilizing forms of talk therapy and is
highlighting the benefits of trampoline use within an outpatient mental health setting. The author
references the research article Introducing trampoline use within an acute mental health care
setting by Smith, Melton, Olyneolo, & Buchwald (2009) and examines and discusses the
applicability of trampoline use in an outpatient mental health setting.
Proposed Benefits of Trampolining
Smith, Melton, Olyneolo, and Buchwald (2009) identified three areas of benefit for trampoline
use to decrease mental health illness: 1) physiological benefit, 2) social benefit, and 3)
motivational benefit. The literature suggests that trampoline use has been utilized in healthcare
practice for years; however mainly with individuals diagnosed with learning disabilities
(Association of Chartered Physiotherapists for People with Learning Disabilities, 1997). Smith,
Melton, Olyneolo, and Buchwald (2009, p. 113) cited Therapeutic trampolining or Rebound
Therapy has been described as having healing properties and its use has been specifically tailored
to develop motor skills, body awareness, balance, coordination, and communication skills
(Smith & Cook, 2007; Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, 2007). Due to the paucity of
research on trampoline therapy or Rebound Therapy Milller (2007) suggested that the benefits of
trampolining noticed by healthcare professionals is anecdotal at this time.
Physiological Benefit
Everett et al (1995) suggest that the bio-psychosocial model of health accounts for biological,
psychological, and sociological systems of the body. As these systems are interconnected
between each other the presumption is that change in one system will affect another system; thus
a change in physical health will impact mental health. Biddle et al (2001) postulate that there
exists a growing body of evidence that supports the use of physical exercise to reduce mental
health symptoms. Trampolining may have a positive impact on motor skills such as balance and
coordination as it requires unfamiliar patterns of motor coordination, such as rotation of the
whole body in a three dimensional space (Smith & Cook, 2007). Trampolining may also have a

The Chat with Dr. Dave


David P. Sanchez, Psy.D., LMFT
Therapeutic Thoughts of the Week
positive impact on an individuals sensory processing as the therapist may facilitate a sensory
experience to calm or stimulate the individuals sensory experience.
Social Benefit
Smith, Melton, Olyneolo, and Buchwald (2009, p. 115) cited that Smith & Cook (1990) found
that trampolining increases vocalization and eye contact amongst people with very limited
communication skills suggesting that the activity has a place in promoting engagement between
individuals.
Motivational Benefit
Smith, Melton, Olyneolo, and Buchwald (2009, p. 116) cited that Everett et al (1995) identified
that using the trampoline can have a very positive effect on self-esteem and self-confidence,
which are often reduced in people suffering from mental illness.
Practical Processes and Environments Required
This author is a birth-to-five trained specialist and completed a two year post-doctoral education
certification at the Harris Infant Mental Health Training Institute in Phoenix AZ in Infant and
Family Clinical Practice. The author utilizes a Skywalker Bounce-N-Learn 55" Round
Trampoline with Safety Enclosure in his outpatient mental health office that possesses a weight
capacity for a child weighing up to 100 pounds. The author utilizes the trampoline to assist with
advancing and enhancing sensory skills, to improve motor skills, to improve engagement, to
improve socialization skills, and to increase concentration. The Skywalker Bounce-N-Learn
possesses four quadrants on the net that are labeled 1 (in red), 2 (in yellow), 3 (in blue), and 4 (in
green). The author will guide the child through a sequence of directions which may involve only
numbers, only colors, or a combination of numbers and colors where the childs directive is to
bounce on the correct quadrant of numbers, colors, or numbers and colors combined. The
authors experience using trampoline therapy in an outpatient mental health setting has been
positive and all children have displayed positive affect while bouncing and have demonstrated an
increased ability to transition to another therapy activity after trampolining. In a family therapy
session the author will work with the primary caregiver in coaching the caregiver in providing
the instruction to the child which allows the therapist to assess for effective communication,
collaboration, and how the parent-child work together to complete a task.
Conclusion
The authors intent is to highlight the benefits of trampoline use in an outpatient mental health
setting and to demonstrate the clinical utility of how trampoline therapy may be applied during
an individual or family therapy setting. In reiteration, trampoline therapy may assist with
advancing and enhancing sensory skills, to improve motor skills, to improve engagement, to
improve socialization skills, and to increase concentration.

The Chat with Dr. Dave


David P. Sanchez, Psy.D., LMFT
Therapeutic Thoughts of the Week
References

Association of Chartered Physiotherapists for People with Learning Disabilities: Rebound


Therapy Working Party (1997). ACPPLD Good Practice in Rebound Therapy.
Biddle, S., Fox, K., and Boutcher, S. (2001). Physical Activity and Psychological Well-Being.
London: Routledge.
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (2007). Safe Practice in Rebound Therapy. London: CSP.
Everett, T., Denni, M. and Ricketts, E. (1995). Physiotherapy in Mental Health: A practical
approach. London: Butterworth Heinmann.
Miller, A. (2007). Rebound Therapy where is the evidence?
http://www.reboundtherapy.org/?papers_and_publications.
Smith, S. and Cook, D. (1990). A study into the use of Rebound Therapy for adults with special
needs. Physiotherapy. 76(11): 734-735.
Smith, S. and Cook, D. (2007). Rebound Therapy. In: Rennie, J. (ed). Learning Disability
Physical therapy treatment and management A collaborative approach. 2nd Edition.
Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, pp 249-262.
Smith, S. L., Melton, J., Olyneolo, M., & Buchwald, K. (2009). Introducing trampoline use
within an acute mental health care hospital setting. Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care,
5(2), 113-121.