Knowledge and use of the therapeutic relationship in physical therapy

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Tyler Johnston (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Pam Brown

Abstract: Chronic low back pain is a common problem, and the consequences of this condition can affect every aspect of one’s life. Therefore, a biopsychosocial (BPS) treatment model that addresses the biological, psychological, and social factors that can influence low back pain is appropriate for clinical practice. Physical therapy professionals, who commonly treat low back pain, can develop a therapeutic relationship with their patients to effectively implement these BPS-based treatments. With this therapeutic relationship (TR), patients have reported less pain, improved function, and quicker recovery, but physical therapy school and post-professional training to apply TR is inadequate. The purpose of this study is to determine what physical therapy professionals know and how they use the therapeutic relationship when treating patients with chronic low back pain. An online survey was sent to practicing physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in North Carolina to determine their knowledge and use of the therapeutic relationship in their current clinical practice. Therapists reported high levels of use, importance, and confidence in using TR in clinical practice. The findings suggest that physical therapy professionals know what TR is, but may not be applying it appropriately when delivering BPS based treatments. The findings may be used to develop educational materials and resources to help practicing physical therapy professionals implement TR in their clinical practice.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2024
Chronic low back pain, Physical therapists, Physical therapy, Therapeutic relationship
Backache $x Physical therapy
Physical therapist and patient
Physical therapy $x Psychological aspects
Physical therapy $x Social aspects

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