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Minerva Pediatrics 2021 February;73(1):28-34

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-5276.17.05006-X


lingua: Inglese

Role of a behavioral therapy involving psychodrama for the treatment of sleep disorders in pediatric primary care

Jean STAGNARA 1 , Patrick LEMOINE 2

1 Private Practitioner, Lyon, France; 2 Peking University, Beijing, China

BACKGROUND: Sleep disorders are common in young children. Our objective was to describe a psychodrama using puppets and to assess the interest of this approach for the treatment of sleep disorders in ambulatory pediatric patients.
METHODS: This retrospective, observational, monocenter study was carried between 1st January 2014 and 31st December 2015. Children aged 12 months to 6 years with a sleep disorder confirmed according to the International Classification of Sleep Disorders-2 were recruited. The parents were questioned separately about their child’s sleep rhythm and the family’s quality of life (QoL). The child sitting on their parent’s knee and, using puppets to represent the family members, the pediatrician reproduced the scenario that took place at home and demonstrated what should be changed. The parents were contacted by telephone 1-2 weeks after the therapy to determine whether the child’s sleep patterns had improved. The primary endpoint was resolution of the sleep disorder.
RESULTS: Thirty-eight children (mean age 27.2±14.0 months; mean duration of sleep disorder 12.7±9.5 months) were assessed. The most common sleep disorders were difficulties in falling asleep at evening bed-time (76.3%) and night-time wakening (76.3%). The main triggering factors were the birth of a sibling (30.8%) or an illness (30.8%). In the majority (52.2%) of families who were convinced that the psychodrama would work, an immediate and complete resolution of the sleep disorder was obtained within three days of the consultation. QoL improved in the majority of families after the consultation (QoL was average in 68.4% of families before the consultation vs. good in 84.2% after the consultation). Psychodrama was effective at bringing about an immediate and complete resolution of sleep disorders in children. This confirms the findings of other reports that show that behavioral therapy is effective in this context.
CONCLUSIONS: This method could be adapted effectively by individual practitioners, enabling children to establish a good sleep pattern without the use of medications. A further large-scale, randomized, controlled trial is required to confirm these results.

KEY WORDS: Pediatrics; Sleep wake disorders; Psychodrama; Observational study

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