In the past decade there has been a growing body of evidence supporting the potential benefits of maximizing Therapeutic Alliance (TA). This is also sometimes referred to as focusing on having a patient-centered approach to care.

“A meaningful connection is one in which patients and clinicians feel seen, heard, and appreciated…” (Hutting et al 2021)

One of the best ways of maximizing TA is to focus on patient-led goals, which is achieved by simply asking the patient,

“Can you name a specific activity that you would like to get back to that you currently have difficulty with or avoid.”

Then ask some more details about their desired goal to further connect with them. Ask questions such as… Where do you usually go to play golf? Which particular Yoga poses are difficult for you? What kind of dog do you have that you walk daily? etc.

The point is, other than focusing on pain which is what clinicians and patients typically do, attention must be given to how exactly their condition is impacting their life.

The ultimate goal of PT must be to promote self-efficacy and self-management that will move them closer to their desired goals.

Sadly too often the primary goal for both the PT and the patient seems to be to eradicate pain, using passive approaches from numerous sessions of manual therapies and/or electrotherapy modalities. This is not always the best approach to maximizing TA!

Feel free to preview the sample lesson from my online course on TA.

Reference: Hutting N, et al. Patient-centered care in musculoskeletal practice: Key elements to support clinicians to focus on the person. Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2021 Aug 5:102434.

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