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Institute for Special Systemic Therapy

Highly Professional Expertise Focused on our Patients

The company philosophy of ISST is to supply patients with comprehensive, customized therapies and adapting the therapeutical possibilities through stringent quality standards to achieve the best possible treatment result: More quality of life for the patient! Patients and therapists are partners in personalized therapy.

Establishment of ISST

The Institute for Special Systemic Therapy (ISST) – International Center for Rehabilitation was founded by Dr. Klaus and Sabine Berndsen in Unna, Germany in 1984. Since that time, they have accumulated expertise, which allows them to competently advise, diagnosis, treat and handle patients fairly. The ISST defines its purpose as a competent provider of therapies to promote and rehabilitate the health of its patients. Our institute concentrates its rehabilitation services in the areas of language, speech, motion, cognition, nerve function, pain, hearing deficits, vertigo and sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea.

The Founders of the ISST Unna

The founders of the ISST Unna, Dr. Klaus-J. Berndsen und Sabine Berndsen

Since ISST’s beginnings, the institute has been involved in intensive concerted research with universities hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and international specialists to continually develop new efficacious treatment methods and assistive technologies to aid ill and andicapped individuals. Today ISST represents an innovative team of therapists, who have a competent and modern scientific understanding of diagnosis, therapy and special individual forms of rehabilitation.

New research ideas are often realized through practical work, which Dr. Klaus and Sabine Berndsen experience with their patients. The development of new therapy methods and assistive technologies emerge primarily through patient contact. In many cases, their developments have emerged from the critical analyses of current theories and treatment methods which required much needed revisions. Some of their methods and devices have been issued patents. Many of their developments are used currently by physicians and therapists worldwide.

Creativity and Personal Experience as Stimulation for New Developments

Philip BerndsenAt the beginning of every new development, there is always the necessity moskitoto provide specific aids for a special patient. This happened in 1991 when son of Dr. Klaus and Sabine Berndsen was born with cerebral palsy (CP). As afflicted parents, the Berndsens wanted to do everything possible to limit the extent of the handicap. Over the years, they visited physicians and therapists in Germany and abroad, including trips that took them for weeks at a time to the Ukraine, USA, South America, Hungary, Poland and as far as China. Unfortunately, only slight improvements were seen in their son’s condition and their wish that he would be able to learn to walk did not materilize over the years.

Because both parents possessed a comprehensive therapeutic understanding and could complement this experience through the variety of international expert findings, they began to develop their own improved methods and equipment, which they applied to their patients and their own son. In fact many who were afflicted, including their son, were able to gradually improve their movements and even learn to stand and walk. All assistive techniques and equipment are continually refined and have been developed into a highly individualized treatment methods. At ISST, patients from all over the world are treated with these methods.

Self-Development of Medical Equipment

Entwicklung medizintechnischer Geräte

Generally, industry neglects products, which have minimal demand, resulting in an unprofitable product. Dr. Klaus and Sabine Berndsen began arduously to build the urgently needed assistive devices during evenings in their own workshop. These devices were mainly built for a particular patient and were made available to the patient either free of cost or charged only for the material cost. New legal regulations bound to extensive and expensive testing procedures of the products made the creative venture increasingly more difficult to maintain. For a variety of assistive technologies, the inventors were awarded patents for their work.

Scientific Publication and Publicity

Concerning the application of their inventions, new forms of therapy, technologies and research results, Berndsen/Berndsen publish this information in books and professional journals. Television, radio and print media report repeatedly about their new therapeutic methods and technological developments.

Univesity Seminars, Professional Training for Physicians and Therapists

Besides their therapeutic work at ISST, Dr. Klaus and Sabine Berndsen teach seminars at different universities in Germany and abroad and are active clinical work. In the framework of these responsibilities, they guide research and supervise the scientific development.

Dr. Klaus and Sabine Berndsen regularly instruct vocational and professional trainings for physicians and therapists in their own and in differing worldwide facilities, at congresses, etc. Thereby, the focus is on scientific involvement and practical implementation of the therapeutic methods and technical applications which Berndsen/Berndsen developed at ISST in Unna.

Facilities at the Institute for Special Systemic Therapy

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The therapies at ISST are supported through modern assistive technologies. For diagnosis and treatment, rooms for single or group treatments, training and rehabiltation rooms with technical equipment, modern instrumentation, a nap room and outside therapy possibilities.

Employees at ISST

To ensure trusted, personable contact between patient and therapist, the ISST is organized in spatial, staff manageable and familial structure. The ISST therapists are required to have a university degree (Master’s) in the area of rehabilitation and thereafter to obtain technical specialization at ISST which last several years. The therapists are distinguished by their high level of technical expertise and social intelligence.

With Head to Goal


Institute for Special Systemic Therapy

The Institute of Special Systemic Therapy is considered as a competent provider of therapies to promote and restore the health of patients. Our main focus is dedicated to the rehabilitation of language, speech, movement, brain function, nerve function, pain, hearing impairments, dizziness, sleeping and snoring and sleep apnea.

Staff at the ISST are proud of more than thirty years of successful work with patients of all ages from over ninety countries around the world. Neurophysiological treatment methods and patented technical aids, that are developed and applied from ISST, have received international attention. The successful work at ISST has been proven by numerous media reports and is well documented by an impressive list of scientific publications.


was founded in 1984 by Dr.Klaus and Sabine Berndsen. This was created under the influence of many years of therapeutic experience, consistent research and cooperation with universities, hospitals and international specialists. Together Dr Klaus and Sabine have created and developed new diagnostic and therapeutic methods as well as technical aids for ill and handicapped people. Their methods and devices have become known internationally and have been publicised by the media worldwide. As authors Berndsen/Berndsen have published numerous scientific papers. They have also been granted patents for their specialised medical devices and aids.

The innovative ISST team works on a high level of engagement and continuity, based on current scientific research, to allow the best possible results. ISST is organised in a tranquil, very personal and family based environment. Thus the important, trusting relationships between patient and therapists are always guaranteed. Patients come to ISST from all over the world and the ISST team have English, French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic language skills. Interpreters and nursing staff are also available on request.

We are looking forward an intense close cooperation with our patients!

Sabine Berndsen
Managing Director
Dr. Klaus Berndsen
Scientific Direktor


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Place of our practice

We are not born in Unna, but very long and happy here. We enjoy freedom, openness, interdisciplinary networking and diversity. As creative people we are guided by cultural highlights such as the International Light Art Museum. We lose bad ideas under the impression of this fantastic art. The good ones we use for our imagination, our actions and our patients.

Success for the patient and user

We work for the success of our patients and customers, not for our own glorification. We learn from them and optimize our qualifications not only through professional training, but also through a competent analysis of the different problems and the resulting of constant creative development and adaptations of individual assistance.

How we work

We do not consider and treat the symptoms of disease. We adjust ourselves individually to the patient. We always seek the causes of his problems. Together with the patient, we develop a partnership-based therapy in which the patient is extensively informed about the causes and therapy. Mutual respect and acceptance are important factors.

Our treatments take into account the complex mechanisms of the human organism, the psyche and important – old and new – findings from general research and brain research.

With head to the goal

The numerous interactive functions of the head and neck region with effects on breathing, eating, drinking, swallowing, hearing, metabolism, nervous functions, body balance and body statics are particularly considered.

Together with the patient, we develop strategies that prevent recurrences and have a positive effect on health and joy of life.

Ideas and creativity

Ideas for new methods and projects are often derived from intensive work with patients. We developed new therapeutic approaches and medical devices that were urgently needed for the rapid and effective improvement of patients’ quality of life. These patients suffered e.g. Dysphagia, swallowing, tinnitus, pain, etc. Some of these developments are now being applied worldwide.

We also developed speech aids for throat-less people, non-communicating communicators, respiratory devices, learning or re-learning of walking or body motor skills and products such as FaceFormer, LoopCup, hearing aids, communicator, intermittent heat treatment for neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain. Seat cushion with spring systems against decubitus, measuring devices for hearing tests and tinnitus measurement, electronic noise protection, etc. Some of these products have been patented.

Professional presentation

We want professional and ethical discussions on the same level, based on logic, analysis and experience. Ignorant dogmatics we encounter with dialectical argumentation. We are pleased to receive invitations to present us in information and expert forums. Comments and questions in our block are welcome.

What we do not react to

Destructive arguments for delimiting inappropriate hierarchical positions or unnecessary authority destroy the discourse. Conflicts with such only benefit the aggressor. This would take a step closer to their goal of destroying important innovative initiatives. They are basically ignored by us.

Selection of our employees

When selecting our employees, we attach great importance to the combination of professional expertise and a lived value orientation in our thinking and acting.

Everyone in our team has an excellent qualification, experience and the associated talent.

Important characteristics such as punctuality, reliability and honesty are further bases for reliable cooperation with our partners.

This is how we work

Ideas for new projects often come from direct work with patients or from inquiries from health care institutions. In the beginning, it was exclusively the help we developed for our patients. They were urgently needed by them as a quick, effective improvement in the quality of life. Such patients suffered e.g. dysphagia, tinnitus or pain. Subsequently, other health care facilities sent those affected, for whom we should invent something. We developed mainly individual aid for individual humans, e.g. speech aids for throat-less people, communicators for non-speaking people, respiratory aids or devices for learning or re-learning walking or body motor skills.

Afterwards, we developed numerous new products like FaceFormer, LoopCup, hearing aids, Communicator, device with intermittent heat treatment against neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, seat cushion with spring systems against pressure ulcers, measuring devices for hearing and tinnitus measurement, electronic noise protection, etc. Patents were granted for some of them.

We are also constantly looking for products from other manufacturers. We assess and test this for suitability and quality. If they meet all our criteria, we recommend them to our customers. Our customers’ experience helps us constantly optimize processes and products.

Development to the International Center for Rehabilitation

Numerous specializations, which have developed over 30 years at the ISST-Unna, have resulted in complex rehabilitation therapies.

First, we did treatments for patients with Down-Sydrom, lips-jaw-nose deformities, swallowing disorders, speech disorders, voice disorders, stuttering, autism, developmental delays, hearing disorders, tinnitus, dizziness, malocclusions, pain in the joints, facial pain, shoulder pain, neck pain or patients with stroke.

Today, also patients with severe disabilities from various parts of the world come to the ISST-Unna: Body impairments, brain diseases, accidental injuries and various syndromes.

Methods such as Neuro-Cell-Stimulation-Therapy (NCST), FaceFormer Therapy (FFT), PhilPaso Therapy (PPT) have been specially developed by us for these patients. Dr. Klaus and Sabine Berndsen are often invited by international clinics to work with patients and explain the treatments.

We offer qualified and personalized treatments for different diseases, disabilities and syndromes to our national and international patients. The wide range of methods in diagnosis and treatment relies on our scientific developments, own patents as well as on extensive practical experience.

Therapy Programm

Speech and Language

  • Phonation disorder (dyslalia)
  • Grammar disorder (dysgrammatism)
  • Autismus
  • Mutismus
  • Communication disorders
  • Problems finding words (lexical disorders)
  • Loss of speech after a stroke or brain injury – aphasia
  • Neurological disorders (dysarthria, among others)
  • Stuttering, cluttering
  • Cleft lip, cleft palate and other malformations
  • Mouth, tongue, nose injuries (eg after surgery)
  • Bilingual language training (bilingualism)


  • Impaired voice use, loss of voice
  • Hoarseness, forced cough
  • Paralysis of vocal cord
  • Partial or total removal of the larynx (laryngectomy)
  • Nasal speech (rhinolalia)



  • Switching from mouth to nasal breathing
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Respiratory disabilities by narrowed airways
  • Asthma
  • Allergies

Hearing and Balance

  • Hearing loss, deafness
  • Listening and speaking with cochlear implants
  • Sudden hearing loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Dizziness

Neurological Disorder

  • Alzheimer, dementia
  • Stroke (apoplexy)
  • brain disorders

Disorders in Eating, Drinking or Swallowing

  • Troubled swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Paralysis in orofacial region
  • Switch from tube feeding to physiological nutrition
  • Salivation (drooling)
  • Sensory disturbances
  • Diseases caused by metabolic disorders


  • Head, face, jaw joints
  • Migraine
  • Shoulder, neck, arm region, back

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

  • Snoring
  • Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome
  • Sleep disorders

 Teeth, Jaw and Jaw Joints

  • Misaligned teeth, malocclusion (prevention and assistance in orthodontics)
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Temporomandibular pain
  • Correction of muscle functions with inclusion of dental prosthetics and dental implants

Movement and Neurological Damage

  • Cerebral movement disorders (i.a. CP)
  • Head injuries, such as traumatic brain injury
  • Paraplegia
  • Muscular dystrophies
  • Stroke (apoplexy)
  • Brain tumors and spinal cord tumors
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease


Learning Disabilities

  • Dyslexia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Preschool training
  • Enrollment and school diagnostics
  • Expert reports


  • ADD and ADHD – Attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder
  • Perceptual impairments

Special therapies

  • NCS Therapy – Neuro-cell stimulation therapy (acc. Berndsen/Berndsen)
  • Orofacial regulation therapy (acc.Castillo Morales)
  • Myofunctional Therapy
  • CCF therapy – cranio-cervical-function therapy (acc. Berndsen/Berndsen)
  • FFT – FaceFormer therapy (acc.Berndsen/Berndsen)
  • OSP therapy  – oral stimulation plates therapy (acc. Berndsen/Berndsen)
  • TAS  – training therapy for apnea and snoring (acc. Berndsen/Berndsen)
  • KVT therapy (sound-ventilation-tone therapy) (acc. Berndsen/Berndsen)
  • Therapy for tinnitus, hearing loss, dizziness (acc. Berndsen/Berndsen)
  • AMK  – Akupedics with sounds for the treatment of deafness, disorders of perception and concentration (acc. Berndsen/Berndsen)
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • Articulation, rhetoric training and vocal hygiene (e.g. for professional speakers)

Learn more about our Spezial Therapies.

Therapy Organisation

  • Intensive treatment (accommodation if necessary)
  • Group therapy and caregiver training

You want individual treatment or counseling?

Call us on [eating-fon] or use our contact contact form for therapy requests.

Learn more about special therapies at ISST

Learn more about intensive therapies at ISST

Learn more about special diagnostic and measurement methods at ISST