Sensory modulation in mental health practice
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Sensory modulation in mental health practice

Danielle Hitch Honorary Occupational Therapy Knowledge Translation Fellow, NorthWestern Mental Health, Psychosocial Research Centre, Coburg, Victoria, Australia
Claire Wilson Occupational Therapy Student, Geelong Waterfront Campus, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Alexandra Hillman Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Geelong Waterfront Campus, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Why you should read this article
  • To understand how sensory modulation can assist service users with mental health conditions

  • To enhance your knowledge on the methods and materials you can use to implement sensory modulation interventions

  • To recognise the potential challenges with implementing sensory modulation in practice

Sensory modulation approaches have become increasingly prevalent in Australian mental health practice over the past few years, but their use in UK mental health services remains in its early stages. A growing evidence base supports the use of sensory modulation, with positive outcomes reported by service users and mental health practitioners across inpatient and community settings.

The aim of this article is to provide an introduction to sensory modulation, identifying optimal practice and requirements for its implementation. It provides an overview of the latest evidence for sensory assessment and interventions, along with a review of relevant methods and materials. The article also discusses the benefits and challenges associated with sensory modulation. While sensory modulation is an effective and acceptable intervention that supports service user recovery, further research is required to consolidate knowledge on optimal practice.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2020.e1422

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Hitch D, Wilson C, Hillman A (2020) Sensory modulation in mental health practice. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2020.e1422

Accepted 22 July 2019

Published online: 04 February 2020

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