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  • This Month in PT in Motion Magazine: Helping Patients Think About Misbeliefs

    Everyone's entitled to his or her beliefs, so they say. But what happens when those beliefs get in the way of getting better?

    This month's issue of PT in Motion magazine takes on the subject of how physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) can help their patients and clients overcome misbeliefs that can interfere with achieving optimal outcomes. The feature-length article includes plenty of real-life examples of patients attached to ideas that were barriers to their understanding of their condition and how physical therapy can help—everything from believing that exercising makes multiple sclerosis worse, to a theory that wearing wet jeans causes arthritis.

    Keeping in mind that patient values and beliefs are a factor in evidence-based practice, how should a PT or PTA handle off-target patient beliefs? According to the article, there simply isn't a single best way—it's all about nuance, about understanding the kind and source of the misinformation the patient holds, and about approaching the issue with genuine sensitivity to the patient's belief system, culture, personality, and learning style.

    "Overcoming Patient Misbeliefs" features advice from PTs who have engaged in sometimes-significant patient education efforts. Approaches differ, but each PT interviewed underscores the need to be patient and avoid making the patient feel ignorant or defensive—or lectured-to. The article also recognizes the value of honoring patients’ belief systems and respecting the knowledge they have of their own bodies and experiences.

    "As a physical therapist, you have to be a great listener," says Chuck Gulas, PT, PhD, in the article. "You need to ask questions and show patients they have a key role in their own treatment."

    "Overcoming Patient Misbeliefs" is featured in the December issue of PT in Motion. Printed editions of the magazine are mailed to all members who have not opted out; digital versions are available online to members.

    Comments

    • This is always a tricky endeavour, but at the same time, we are therapists, and patients generally have an expectation and understanding that their consultants will involve us imparting knowledge and information to them. I think most patients are receptive to new ideas and beliefs, but how well this is handled certainly comes down to the "soft" skills of the therapist!

      Posted by Neutral Bay Massage on 12/23/2015 12:49 AM

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