Last week we asked what kind of Critical Physiotherapy Course format you would be most interested in next year. Here are the results:
23 people voted for one of the four options.
9 voted for the idea of using clinical scenarios as the basis for thinking through theories and ideas.
7 voted for inviting non-physiotherapy speakers to introduce us to unfamiliar ideas and theories.
4 for using YouTube videos of theories and ideas as a prompt for discussion.
And 3 for inviting clients/patients to present as a starting point to thinking through theories and ideas.
What does this tell us?
Perhaps firstly that people are still struggling to find the practical use for philosophical ideas in practice, and that this is an ongoing problem for clinicians and teachers.
Secondly, that the people who voted see it as a part of the CPN’s remit to help people bridge the gap between theory and practice.
This second point is an especially interesting one.
The CPN was set up, in part, as a ‘space for ideas that promote a more positive, diverse & inclusive future for the profession’ (CPN Objective #8), and part of that has always meant sharing ideas in an open, collaborative and egalitarian way, without necessarily assuming the responsibility for explaining alien concepts to others.
Our first Objective also states that we will actively explore the world beyond the current boundaries of physiotherapy practice and thought. So is this vote a call to use theory to extend practice, or does it speak to a deeper desire to understand complex ideas from a perspective that feels more familiar and comfortable?
The axiomatic logic of this is that physiotherapy is a practical profession, and so we should always look to take new ideas back to practice. But is that necessarily true?
Doesn’t new thinking sometimes needs to breathe for a while and find its legs before being captured by the everyday constraints of practice.
Aren’t there sometimes dangers in trying to find the practical utility of things – particularly ideas that are radical, disruptive and dangerous – and find practical uses for them?
So should we take the vote on face value, or is it really the starting point for a bigger conversation about the purpose and function of the Critical Physiotherapy Course?
It would be lovely to hear your thoughts and comments on this.