Félicie Affolter

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Félicie Affolter (* 1926 in St. Gallen ) is a Swiss psychologist , psychotherapist , speech therapist and teacher for the deaf .


After completing her training as a speech therapist , Félicie Affolter studied psychology , including with Jean Piaget at the University of Geneva . She received her doctorate in speech therapy from the University of Minnesota in 1959 and then worked at the pediatric audiology department of the St. Gallen Cantonal Hospital . In 1976 she founded a foundation there for the research and treatment of perceptual disorders (e.g. with autism ) together with a special school . She has taught at universities and clinical institutions in Europe and the USA.

Affolter model

During her many years of clinical work with children and adults with impaired perception, she developed her own development model and therapy concept, the Affolter model , also known as "felt interaction therapy ". Actions that cannot be carried out by patients with perception problems are carried out together with the therapist. Their basic idea was: The interaction felt in everyday life gives the toddler their first experience of the world; if these could not be saved sufficiently or effectively, further disturbances of perception and language acquisition and further cognitive as well as social performances can result; a therapy of the same must therefore start again with the feeling.

This therapy enables the patient to learn in a practical and everyday way. In the case of disturbed perception, you can contribute to improving the perceived search for information by specifically guiding your hands and body during everyday events. Leadership means that another person performs actions with the patient's body in such a way that relationships are established between the patient and the environment. Motor , cognitive and emotional performance is promoted through these guided interaction experiences .

Working according to Affolter is now one of the most important therapeutic approaches when working with severely impaired patients.

For the treatment of people with dementia, the occupational therapist Gudrun Schaade has adapted the Affolter model to the needs of those affected and integrated it into the support concept she developed.


In 2008, the Center for Cognitive Sciences at the University of Minnesota awarded Félicie Affolter the Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals for her life's work .

Publications (selection)

  • Perception, Reality and Language , Neckar-Verlag, Villingen-Schwenningen 2007 (10th unchanged edition; first edition 1987), ISBN 978-3-7883-0255-9
    • Perception, interaction and language. Interaction of daily living. The root of development , Springer Verlag, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-540-51150-4
  • Non-linguistic solving of problems in everyday situations in normal children and children with language disorders (= scientific contributions from research, teaching and practice on the rehabilitation of people with disabilities, Volume 51), Neckar-Verlag, Villingen-Schwenningen 2007, ISBN 978-3-7883- 0293-1
  • with Walter Bischofberger: Sensed work in reality , Neckar-Verlag, Villingen-Schwenningen 2013, ISBN 978-3-7883-1226-8


  • Heike Ackermann: Félicie Affolter's concept and its significance for education for the mentally handicapped . Edition SZH, Lucerne 2001, ISBN 3-908262-03-8
  • Adrian Hofer, Walter Ehwald: The Affolter model. Development model and felt interaction therapy . Pflaum, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-7905-0977-9

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Flower white to raven black. St. Gallen women - 200 portraits , edited by Marina Widmer and Heidi Witzig. Zurich 2003. ISBN 978-3-85791-444-7 , p. 25
  2. ^ Andreas Prokesch: Portrait. Dr. Félicie Affolter , perception.ch
  3. ^ Gudrun Schaade (2008): Ergotherapy for dementia diseases, A funding program, 4th edition, Berlin et al.: Springer, p. 46f.
  4. Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals, 2008 Recipients: Dr. Félicie Affolter, Switzerland. MS, Speech Pathology (1959)  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: dead link / global.umn.edu