Each day over the next week I’ll post up an abstract for a paper being presented by a member of the Critical Physiotherapy Network at the In Sickness and In Health conference in Mallorca in June 2015. (You can find more information on the conference here.)
Physiotherapy at the intersection between the claims of standardization and individual adaptation
By Wenche S. Bjorbækmo
When relating to another person, as in the practicing of physiotherapy, each person touches and impacts on the other. Inter-subjectivity and inter-corporality have been highlighted to be at the core of physiotherapy. At the same time physiotherapists are increasingly exhorted to be accountable, to provide evidence of effectiveness and to draw on evidence-based practice to improve the quality of our services.
Of vital interest is to explore how to understand the knowledge put into play in the practice of physiotherapy. For these purposes, and based on a phenomenological research approach, we have observed clinical practice in primary care. For sixteen observations, we selected physiotherapists working in different clinics and adult patients seeking their help. Additionally interviews were carried out with nine physiotherapists and nine patients. In this way, the aim has been to get insight to the lived experiences of physiotherapists and their patients in doing/ performing physiotherapy with a focus on the knowledge put into play in-between them.
The study reveals how practicing physiotherapy is about the possibility for an inter-corporal dialogue at many levels. A dialogue that involves various and manifold of knowledge put into play. It reveals how reasoning in physiotherapy is a bodily activity based on theoretical knowledge at many levels, feelings and a about signifying the inter-corporal experiences in-between physiotherapist and patient. It reveals how the knowledge put into play in physiotherapy depends on the sensitivity and reflective embodied knowledge and somatic style of the physiotherapists. A somatic style that in some way transforms the therapists’ relation to the world and especially to various and creative ways of knowledge translation at different moments in the process of doing physiotherapy. As for the claims of evidence, standardization and individual adaptations one of participating physiotherapists concluded, saying; “If we want to treat people equally, we must treat them differently”.