This post was originally published on Medium on 6th February 2018 (link) and is reposted here with the kind permission of Tom Jesson. A scientific revolution shows us that for centuries we have misunderstood pain. I am a Physiotherapist. Almost every person I see in clinic is in pain, and most already have an idea about what has caused their pain. If they are old enough, they might say ‘overuse’, or ‘wear and tear’; if they are younger, they might say ‘bad posture’ or ‘tight muscles’; if they have had a scan, they might say a ‘slipped disc’ or a ‘bone spur’. We accept these explanations prima facie. We consider pain to be a readout on the state of the … [Read more...] about Wired into Pain
One of the biggest perks of my job - and there are many - is the opportunity to work with physiotherapists who are looking for new ways to think about their profession. These are some of the people who are offering insights into how physiotherapy might develop in the future, and one theme of some of this work that's emerged in recent years has been around the ethical care of others. What's most interesting for me about this work is how it's inverting the way we've traditionally thought about others, placing the ethics of care before our knowledge of them and their world. Ethics preceding ontology if you will. Here are three examples. Since the start of the year I've been … [Read more...] about Other ways of looking at others
There have been a few occasions over the last few months when people within the Critical Physiotherapy Network have been asked to do more for physiotherapy. The first time happened after our CPN Salon in Cape Town last year. Our esteemed colleague Professor Dina Brooks began the discussion by asking the CPN to do more to help mainstream physiotherapists make complex theories and philosophies more accessible. In her Reflections of a quantitative researcher on the CPN Salon, posted in July last year, Dina argued that the CPN risked functioning like a 'club' that excluded those who didn't subscribe to its principles. One of Dina's arguments at the time was that the CPN should build … [Read more...] about What should critical physiotherapy do for you?
I had a lovely conversation with some colleagues from Tromsø University's School of Physiotherapy on Monday night after my keynote to the Norwegian Physiotherapists' Congress. Having talked about 'The End of Physiotherapy', they asked me a question I seem to be getting asked a lot now. "So" they said, "what's the answer ... what's the future for physiotherapy?" Now it's an absolutely foundational principle for me that it's not my place to tell people 'the answer' (as if there could ever be an answer). And that's partly because I subscribe to a Foucauldian approach to critical thinking that says you don't replace one bad hegemony (or dominant way of viewing the world) with another. But … [Read more...] about Leaving (physiotherapy) home
There's an interesting piece by Amanda Ruggeri on the BBC Capital site on 20th November discussing the reasons why goal-setting might not be as useful as people think (link). The piece investigates 'why a focus on outcome alone can create a hamster-wheel mentality', and argues that goal-setting is often misunderstood and misapplied. According to the piece, the principle failings of many efforts at goal setting include: Getting "so emotionally attached to a goal that we’re setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment" Setting goals for things we should do, rather than our true ambitions Deciding on future priorities when you don't know your future 'you' Moving on to … [Read more...] about Against goal setting
I'm preparing for a keynote lecture at the APA Conference in Sydney in a couple of weeks time, looking at aged care as a 'bellwether' of the physiotherapy profession at large. (Spoiler alert if you're going) I'm going to argue that if we can work out how to provide meaningful physiotherapy to older adults, we'll fix a lot of the problems now besetting the rest of the profession (abstract here). Part of the joy of this kind of work is the opportunity it gives you to think 'otherwise' about seemingly obvious, taken-for-granted things, like ageing as a natural biological process, or our inalienable role as the leaders of rehabilitation for the elderly and disabled. Testing why we think … [Read more...] about An accident waiting to happen
This is the second post from Cath Cruse-Drew. It strikes me that at its root, Physiotherapy codes of practice in the UK contain more than a passing resemblance to Kantian moral theory. http://www.csp.org.uk/publications/code-members-professional-values-behaviour Adhering to a rule-based code, the principles governing our practice underline the obligation to observe laws and regulation, to take responsibility, and therefore to be accountable for one’s actions in the expression of one’s duty of care; to act with integrity, honesty and openness (do not lie); to respect and support individual’s autonomy (dignity) and to strive for excellence. The code is necessarily abstract, but … [Read more...] about Professional Codes of Practice – can we (or Kant we) rely on them?!