Introduction to a theoretical model based on embodied cognition: A pilot study of the diagnosis and treatment of hemiphobia

David Martínez-Pernía, Francisco Ceric

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Neurorehabilitation programs have traditionally followed the mind-body dichotomy proposed by Descartes, which resulted in the creation of divergent theoretical frameworks. The purpose of this pilot study is to present a transdisciplinary proposal that integrates human experience via the embodied cognition concept, that is, to explore how the individual relates from their experiential totality. We illustrate this model with a case report: a woman with a physical imbalance caused by stroke, which we diagnose as an experiential disorder and we treat using a transdisciplinary approach. Methods: The diagnosis is made in relation to the individual's intentionality when balancing; it is then subjected to an analysis based on embodied cognition. A transdisciplinary therapeutic approach consists of devising an intentionality that takes into consideration all intentional components of her balance. Results: Through clinical practice based on embodied cognition, we identify an experiential disorder, which we name hemiphobia. This condition is characterized by avoidant motor behavior, hyperactivation of physiological tone, feelings of anxiety, and the suppression of reasoning during the motor task of balancing. We apply a transdisciplinary treatment incorporating intentionality as embodied cognition, body schema, body image, motor therapy, and metacognitive skills. This application improved her motricity skills in balancing and walking. Conclusions: The development of a theoretical model based on embodied cognition, in conjunction with the transdisciplinary treatment of hemiphobia, make a more profound and complex learning model possible to achieve the conscious integration of the motor function, the emotional variable, and the cognitive dimension as essential components of neurorehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-807
Number of pages10
JournalTopics in Stroke Rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • balance
  • embodied cognition
  • hemiphobia
  • intentionality
  • transdisciplinary


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