I’ve spent a lot of time this year doing the background work for the book that will follow The End of Physiotherapy (available now in paperback from all good book sellers, and an ideal Christmas present).
On the advice of a friend of mine, who is a prolific author, I try to write books, book chapters, and articles in one go.
What I mean is that all of the arguments are corralled first, along with the data, references, texts and quotes, and then when I’ve ironed out what my arguments will be, I write the whole thing in one go once.
This is quite different to a collaborative writing project, which is much more iterative, but it helps to reduce the seemingly endless re-writing and editing that slows down so many long-form projects.
So as part of the deep background work for the book, I’ve been talking with physiotherapists around the world about the challenges and opportunities they’re seeing in the profession right now, and it’s been an interesting experience.
I’ve talked to people in Africa, the Arab States, Asia, Latin America, Mainland Europe, North America, and Scandinavia, to people living and working in very poor remote and rural communities, and those in advanced, wealthy economies.
It’s by no means a representative sample of anyone, but some of the things that keep cropping up are interesting. I’ve repeatedly heard that:
- We need to raise the profile of the profession
- The way to greater professional ‘capital’ will be through more medicalisation of our practice and stronger links to the medical profession and its ideologies
- Physiotherapists have something unique to say and distinctive to offer (which, at times, seems to contradict the desire to follow medicine more closely)
- We need to keep the best of the old but incorporate new ways of thinking (person-centred care, sustainable development goals, etc.)
- Everyone is unsure about how to achieve these goals beyond doing more of the things that have worked before
What’s interesting about a lot of the conversations I’ve had is that so much of it is basically sociological. I mean, a lot of what we’re talking about comes down to the profession’s function as a social entity.
And yet very few of the people I’ve spoken to can say that they’ve had any experience with the theories and ideas of the sociology of the professions.
So the idea of the next book will be to introduce people to these ideas and to show some ways that sociology can help us ‘diagnose’ physiotherapy’s present and future challenges and opportunities.
Sociology is a mightily untapped resource in physiotherapy, and it’s one of the things that I’ve argued has been ignored by practitioners who focused on the body-as-machine.
So the book will hopefully remedy some of that and give readers new insights into why their profession looks the way it does and what its future might be.
And it will be out next year if I can just finish all the data gathering…