Dr. Graciela Rovner

PhD in Rehabilitation Medicine & Senior Pain Spec.

The only physiotherapist approved as a peer reviewed trainer in ACT

by the International Association of Contextual and Behavioral Sciences (ACBS)

The personal story

I always loved the sea, to swim and move around, and it was castrating as a child, not be be allowed to do sports due to my asthma. Many years of cortisone and Valium in combination with psychological abusive uppbring led me to overweight, chronic pain and depression. A shift to natural medicine inspired me to look for other ways to live a healthy life.

During the 70’s, I took learned many different Body-mind therapeutic methods, I did many years of therapy, expressive dance, music, Tai Chi, Qigong, and yoga. I kept exploring ways to understand myself and help others suffering.

As young woman I needed to get some distance from oppression and I decided to move, first to a Buddhistic monastery and later to Sweden.

Thirty years later, I have a wonderful family, two children, a grandchild, a loving husband and feel that I had the luck to live many lives in this life. Born in Argentina, lived in Italy, France, Brazil, the US and most of my life now in Sweden, a beautiful country which values are more aligned with my heart. 

The professional story

I have always been interested medicine and psychology, I studied both since none of them alone made sense. Physiotherapy integrated them, allowing me and my patient to move mindfully through life. All thee years of succesfully rehabilitating my self and many, many other human beings still was puzzling me: what am I doing? And why is it working? Which are the mechanisms I prompt with this intervention?

While writing one of my theses, back in the 90 I start finding interesting pieces of something like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but much stronger in theory. It took time to understand it given a quite nerd language that I was not so used to. The first book about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) came 1999 and then I start reading all what came and specially in the field of stress and chronic pain.
I wrote three master theses (in physiotherapy, psychology and clinical medical sciences) and a PhD in Rehabilitation medicine all aiming to develop ACT into our different fields and profession.

These develpemnts led to the creation of ACTiveRehab while building the first Inter-professional Pain Rehab clinic in Western Sweden (supported by a European grant, 2008). Since then, the research program yeld to clinical development tha has been implemented in servces around the world. After a pst-doc and a position as clinical development manager at Karolinska University Hospital and now I have the honor to teach and supervise at the Physiotherapy Dept at Karolinska Institutet.

I have also founded a rehabilitation center in Gothenburg in the 90’ that now transitioned to the ACT Institutet Sweden, that offers open and in house trainings, clinical supervision and organizational consulting for clinics aiming to implement ACTiveRehab and streamline their services.


Dr. Graciela Rovner
+46 (0)709 74 37 77


Trälåsvägen 13 A
Gothenburg, SWEDEN


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