This is something that most of my patients ask me eventually, if not in the first meeting. Usually it’s due to curiosity, sometimes it’s an experiece with another therapist, other times it’s because they get their perception of what ‘treatment should be’ from me and wonder what other therapists do. I’ve worked with many therapists of different stripes over the years. Some therapists, of every stripe, were effective with patients, other therapists were not. A pattern I see is that during our undergraduate degrees we are usually at odds. Some of my friends became physios, osteos, chiros, athletic, sports therapists and psychologists. Fresh from the philosophical ideals of our different teachers, which either complemented or diametrically opposed each other, we often sparred, imbeued with the confidence and reassurance that despite our many similarities WE WERE RIGHT.
Then we all graduated and over the years met at the same CPD courses, treated the same patients over the course of their journey, stood side by side as pitchside therapists on opposing teams, read the same research from peer reviewed journals or ideally got the opportunity to work together in multidisciplinary clinics like Perfect Therapy in Killarney co. Kerry. All the therapies were created with a single goal; that is to enable people in need to reach their health goals. So what we eventually realised was that we essentially complement each other but conflicting opinions tend to foster communication and accelerate research. Admittedly, no therapy has done more for research worldwide than physiotherapy, with it’s close ties to the hospital setting, the profession is in an ideal location to carry out research. Yet all therapies have access to that research on the modern world online living. We all then interperate and implement that research in the context of our philosophies and beliefs, and a wonderful thing happens. Different perspective can lead to new insights, which my alter aparticular therapy or highlight the value of a different approach, ultimately bringing us closer together..
When it comes to professional relationships, the mature therapist sees an ally in the field of helping people and values the strength of a complementary approach when patients aren’t progressing as expected. So if you are thinking of attanding a therapist, set your goal in the first session with the therapist, discuss how they’ll measure success, estimate how long it may take but realise this is variable and give the therapist the time they need to help you achieve your goals. One / two sessions is rarely enough to treat, educate and enable anyone to implimpent change and foster resilliance.
Kevin is an MSc Neuromuscular Therapist (NMT). He teaches qualifications in NMT for National Training Centre and UCC Mardyke Arena and completed his own studies in Chester University. He works in a mutidisiplinary clinic alongside a physiotherapist, occupational therapist and two other neuromuscular therapists.