This article describes how adults learn to self-manage chronic bodily symptoms, a complex and costly health problem. It proposes a theory of learning for an innovative, research-informed intervention, The BodyMind Approach® (TBMA) aimed at developing confidence, competence, skills, and knowledge and understanding for self-management for people with medically unexplained symptoms. TBMA is interdisciplinary, combining embodiment and arts in health with transformative learning. Having explored the problem, the article presents TBMA and argues for how it cultivates the type of learning which sustains the self-management of symptoms. Promoting self-management fills the gap between patient needs and health service capacity. Previous studies identify learning through this method enables people to manage their symptoms when under stress in an ever-changing environment, supporting sufficient structure, agency, reflexivity, self-efficacy, and self-regulatory strategies to maintain resilience in the face of life adversity, despite their symptoms.
- adult learning
- medically unexplained symptoms
- the BodyMind Approach®
- transformative learning