Context therapy: a new intervention approach for children with cerebral palsy



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Errata Volume 53, Issue 8, 767, Article first published online: 6 July 2011

  • This article is commented on by Carlberg on page 579 of this issue.

Dr Johanna Darrah at 2-50 Corbett Hall, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2G4, Canada. E-mail:


Aim  To describe the development of context therapy, a new intervention approach designed for a randomized controlled trial.

Method  Therapists were trained to change task and environmental factors to achieve parent-identified functional goals for children with cerebral palsy. Therapists did not provide any remediation strategies to change the abilities of the child. Theoretical constructs were developed using dynamic systems theory and the principles of family-centered care. A primary therapist model was used. A three-step intervention strategy was developed.

Results  Therapists adhered to the treatment protocol. Parents participated in the development of both functional goals and intervention strategies.

Interpretation  A therapy approach focusing on changing the task and the environment rather than children’s impairments can be a viable treatment strategy and merits further investigation. The detailed description of the context therapy approach allows replication by both researchers and clinicians. Such intervention descriptions are an important methodological consideration in rehabilitation research.