Ari Ginsberg, PT, DPT, MSIOP
My name is Ari Ginsberg, and I am a licensed NY/NJ physical therapist who graduated with my DPT in 2010. Graduate school was a fantastic learning experience filled with many relevant subjects including, anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, neuro rehab, orthopedics, and many more. While great emphasis was place on the biomechanics of the body, very little focus was placed on the role of the mind in rehab. Although I am not an occupational therapist, I have heard a similar sentiments from occupational therapists.
As a practicing home health physical therapist it became apparent to me that the mind is equally important to rehab as the body. Patients that were motivated and had a positive outlook were more likely to recover than those who were unmotivated and depressed. It is therefore imperative for physical and occupational therapists to incorporate psychology based strategies and techniques to help our patients achieve their goals.
- Bedside Manner
Bedside manner is the foundation of being a successful physical or occupational therapist. We should approach it as we would anatomy or any other body related subject, as a science. As such, the psychology of bedside manner should be explored and developed. In doing so, we are truly expanding our knowledge base and our treatment toolbox to optimize patient care. Check out the CEU webinar The Science of Bedside Manner for details on how to incorporate research and social psychology to improve our bedside manner skills.
As a young physical therapist I was not expecting to feel burnt out in my career. Burnout has become a pervasive issue in both physical therapy and occupational therapy. The research demonstrates that therapists who are burnt out feel less empathy toward their patients, which results in compromised care. Therapists would benefit from techniques and strategies to decrease stress as it is critical to being an effective clinician. Once again, the power of the mind is and essential aspect of physical and occupational therapy
Leadership is being stressed by the APTA and AOTA as a valuable quality for clinicians. Leadership pertains to how we interact with patients, colleagues, and employees. Leadership skills are inherently tied to communication, as communication is the key to facilitating results. A great communicator understands the communication style of their recipient and adjusts accordingly. Psychology is the tool to personality assessment and being an exceptional communicator.
- Other Areas
Pain management is another area critical to the field of physical and occupational therapy. The biopsychosocial model suggests a link between the mind and body to pain tolerance. Therapists should have a basic understanding of how to use psychology to reduce patients’ pain. Using guided imagery and mindfulness with patients is just one example of how to utilize the mind to overcome pain.
It’s time for physical therapists and occupational therapists to integrate psychology into practice. We at Psychology for the Body offer continuing education courses on the psychology topics that weren’t covered in graduate school. We hope to improve your patient outcomes with the knowledge gained from our webinars. Looking forward to your participation.