Regula Rudolf von Rohr (Switzerland)

Aromatherapy in a psychiatric context

Psychiatric Aromatherapy is designed to enable that patients use their individual resources, are health-oriented and experience themselves as competent.

In general, somatic medicine is treating the causes of diseases - for example bacteria. The aim of psychiatric aromatherapy, on the other hand, is learning to deal with the consequences of an illness in order to improve the quality of life.

In interaction with the psychophysiological effects of essential oils, aromatherapy in the psychiatric context primarily works on self-awareness and self-efficacy.

Patient's self-awareness is supported by smelling mindfully and perceiving the own reaction to an essential oil. Self-efficacy is about positively supporting topics from everyday life or the ongoing therapeutic process.

The be-all and end-all is the experience. Self-efficacy is made tangible by experiencing various aromatherapeutic applications such as dry inhalation, foot baths, full baths, embrocation and compresses or staying in the therapy garden. There is space to practice these applications and to anchor them in everyday life. Thus, patients positively experience how they can engage in their daily activities supported with the various application options of psychiatric aromatherapy.

Psychiatric aromatherapy is an individual approach and is always an individual experience, also within the framework of therapeutic groups. We spend a lot of time perceiving scents and trying out practical applications and experiencing their effects. It is not enough to know how to make a compress or a liniment.

In the University Psychiatric Clinics in Basel, we have had very good experiences with the use of aromatherapy in addition to ACT, the acceptance and commitment therapy, which aims to improve mental flexibility.

In my presentation I will give you an insight into my practical work as an aromatherapist in the University Psychiatric Clinics in Basel. We will examine the connections between the selection of aromatherapeutic applications and psychiatric indications. We practice mindful smelling and gain insight into a group session.