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Occupational therapy for functional neurological disorders: a scoping review and agenda for research

  • Paula Gardiner (a1), Lindsey MacGregor (a1), Alan Carson (a1) and Jon Stone (a1)


Functional neurological disorders (FND)—also called psychogenic, nonorganic, conversion, and dissociative disorders—constitute one of the commonest problems in neurological practice. An occupational therapist (OT) is commonly involved in management, but there is no specific literature or guidance for these professionals. Classification now emphasizes the importance of positive diagnosis of FND based on physical signs, more than psychological features. Studies of mechanism have produced new clinical and neurobiological ways of thinking about these disorders. Evidence has emerged to support the use of physiotherapy and occupational therapy as part of a multidisciplinary team for functional movement disorders (FMD) and psychotherapy for dissociative (nonepileptic) attacks. The diagnosis and management of FND has entered a new evidence-based era and deserves a standard place in the OT neurological curriculum. We discuss specific management areas relevant to occupational therapy and propose a research agenda.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Dr Jon Stone, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Crew Road, Edinburgh EH4 2 XU, United Kingdom. (Email:


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