The Emotions of The True Problem

business mindset rehab rehab professional Sep 04, 2023

Back in my early clinical days, I used to think the problem my patients were coming into Physical Therapy for was their pain, so naturally, that's what my evaluation and subjective assessment focused on.

We took a pain scale rating…

We took a mechanism of injury…

We got so much information but generally stayed away from the true emotions of the experience.

And the reality is that’s kind of how the traditional medical model is set up to function. 

Unfortunately, patients are just sent through the motions of the medical system, and Physical Therapy is just a stop along the way.  

This was frustrating for me as a clinician, as I’m sure it is for you - yet it became a primary driver pushing me into a non-traditional model. A model where both provider and patient were truly aligned and had a mutual understanding of goals. 

It took me a while to figure it out, what were the real emotional differences between “acute” and “chronic” problems, but here’s what I’ve learned…

Let’s start with “acute” problems… do you think tendinitis, bursitis, low back pain, or any other issue is the real problem?

Or…. is it the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that comes along with them…

“How long will this last before I can get back to my old self?”

“Will I need surgery?”

“Will I ever be able to do xyz activity again?”

“How will this impact my life?”

THOSE are the real problems. 

And if you want to connect with your patients, you need to figure out which of those is THEIR issue - that’s how you create buy-in, by mutually understanding the emotion. 

But what about “chronic” issues?

How can something that has been going on for 10+ years… all of a sudden… become a “problem.” 

Because environments change… maybe this person is looking to take on a new hobby, maybe it’s started to affect their social life, maybe they now have kids or grandkids and life has a different meaning - without extracting this information, buy-in stays superficial….

There’s a change in events that has NOW turned chronic pain into a problem.

Do you see the difference?

Here’s the key, you need to stay in the subjective until you figure this out… 

It can be the difference between a good outcome and getting ghosted.

Interested in learning how to apply this to your clients?

Click here to find out how!