Ari Ginsberg, PT, DPT, MSIOP
Psychology for Physical and Occupational Therapists?
I recently had an email exchange with a colleague, and they mentioned that there is a lot of controversy regarding physical therapists using psychology in professional practice. I didn’t understand the nature of the controversy. I speak about psychology in all my webinars. I offer online approved CEUs for physical therapists and both on-demand and live CEU courses for occupational therapists on psychology-focused topics.
Should I not be teaching physical and occupational therapists about psychology?
Resolving the Psychology Controversy and Offering Approved CEUs for Physical Therapists
I proceeded to ask the colleague what the controversy was regarding physical therapy and psychology. The answer was something I was completely onboard with, and I even mention in my approved CEUs for physical therapists and occupational therapists. Physical and occupational therapists are not psychologists. We aren’t trained to provide mental health counseling or to utilize mental health therapeutic techniques. Not only that, but we are also not licensed psychologists. Nevertheless, there still is tremendous value to psychology in physical therapy and occupational therapy. Some of the topics I cover in Psychology for the Body’s approved CEUs for physical therapists and occupational therapists are bedside manner, ethics, burnout, motivation, and emotional intelligence. The psychology discussed includes social psychology, positive psychology, behavioral psychology, and marketing psychology. Psychology is useful for physical therapists, even if you are not functioning as a mental health psychologist. In the live CEU courses for occupational therapists and physical therapists I offer opportunities for audience members to ask questions and discuss how they can apply psychology to their patient care.
Although, we are not trained psychologists, I have felt like a mental health therapist many times in my career. As a disclaimer, I do have a Master of Science degree in industrial/organizational psychology, but the field of I/O psychology is fundamentally different than mental health psychology. I/O psychologists utilize psychology tools to help individuals and organizations primarily achieve their business goals. Patients have confided in me regarding some serious situations. One story was quite powerful and really affected me. I touch on this story in my bedside manner webinar which is accredited for approved CEUs for physical therapists.
One patient of mine had a daughter my age, who was living in the home while I was treating the patient with home care physical therapy. The daughter always seemed to exhibit strange behavior when I interacted with her. I found out from my patient that her daughter was addicted to drugs, and even spent time in jail for drug possession. The situation was sad and depressing for my patient. The patient did offer some unsolicited insight on her daughter’s drug issues. The story started when her daughter was 12 and she would have sleepovers with her friend. It turned out that her friend’s father would sexually assault her, and she had become impregnated. Her mother, my patient, never told her husband what had transpired with their daughter. The police were not contacted either. My patient took her daughter to get an abortion, nothing was ever done to the pedophile who had assaulted her daughter. This is the story that was told to me during a home care visit.
Strong Connections with Patients
This is an illustration of how I became a confidant of the patient. They shared information with me that was quite sensitive. I am not a trained psychologist, and the patient was seeing a psychologist at the time I was treating her. Many of the homecare physical and occupational therapists have heard similar personal stories from their patients. Sometimes we are the bridge to helping patients get mental health counseling
Check Out Our Approved CEUs for Physical Therapists
Both On-Demand and Live CEU Courses for Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists
In my course, The Science of Bedside Manner which qualifies for approved CEUs for physical therapists and occupational therapists, I offer psychology insights on how to build a connection with patients. If you build a strong bond with patients, they will trust you. If they trust you, they are more likely to follow your advice as a physical or occupational therapist. You don’t have to build trust to the level of a patient confiding private information with you, but it is advantageous in helping the patient achieve their goals. I have many more homecare stories that I share in my webinars as well as on social media platforms including LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. If you are interested, let’s connect. I also would recommend attending other live CEU courses for occupational therapists and physical therapists Both live and on-demand courses are great, but in the live courses there are many more opportunities to interact. I look forward to seeing you there, and of course, if you have any questions please email me at email@example.com.