Hack 4/5: Decipher the Great Clinician from the Average

Is this Therapist or Doctor Any Good?

Here’s some industry insider knowledge: not all certified and licensed professionals are created equal.  Everyone on the Google search list is likely licensed and they all have tons of letters after their name, but letters are not a high priority on your list of selecting a provider.

There are a ton of VERY good therapists who have been practicing 20-30 years with only a Bachelors or Masters Degree.  When they went to school, that was all that was required.

 

Today, all Physical Therapists have a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) and are inundated with continuing education courses, and all pandering letters and certifications that only require a weekend course and $1000.

 

Just because someone goes to a weekend course and pays the renewal fee every year does not make them an expert in an area – especially if they only see 1-2 clients related to that area in a year!

 

Instead, look for the therapist who may not have the certification, but sees 700 cases of clients related to that certification every year.

 

The “uncertified” therapist is likely much more qualified than the certified one.

 

As a clinical instructor who sees first hand what new graduate “doctors” are capable of, don’t let the name fool you; they are still new graduates with much to learn.   You would probably rather see the experienced therapist instead.  As my mother-in-law always told my wife…”You don’t want to be anyone’s experiment.”  Catching our drift?

 

A lot of letters behind someone’s name doesn’t mean they can help you.  It might mean they paid a lot of money and passed a lot of tests.  As in any other industry in the world, there are a lot more subpar therapists than there are good ones.

 

The difficult task is sifting through all the marketing and self proclaimed experts to find the ones that really will be able to help you; and FAST, without breaking your bank.

 

Expert or Certification Junkie Questionnaire

  1. How long will I spend with you personally each time I come? Do you do manual therapy to treat my tissue before throwing me exercises?

 

  1. How are you conscious of my specific goals, and how will my treatment plan reflect those goals?  Do you work with people who have similar goals to me? i.e. Do I want to play basketball or just walk at the mall?

 

  1. What is your experience with my specific condition?

 

  1. Do you communicate with me outside of my sessions? i.e. Can I send you an email with  progress updates and follow up questions between sessions?

 

  1. Do you communicate with my doctor, and if so, how?

 

FIND SOMEONE ELSE IF…

They don’t spend at least 45 minutes with you 1 on 1 each session or hand you off to a “skilled” assistant to do exercises for more than 10 minutes a session.  They NEED to be treating your tissue FIRST.  Only then should they prescribe you drills and exercises to restore normal movement. Giving you exercises without making sure the tissue is healthy is like trying to build a house on quicksand – it may stand for a minute, but inevitably, it will fall down!

 

They don’t have experience helping people return to goals similar to yours either because of a facility limitation such as space, technology or equipment or their experience level.

 

They don’t have experience with your specific condition or don’t treat it regularly (more than 1-2x/month).

 

They won’t communicate with you via email or other method outside of your sessions.  Being able to receive client feedback in terms up progress updates and questions is critical for efficient and effective return to doing what you love.

 

They don’t communicate with your doctor about your diagnosis or communicate with doctors when a referral out of therapy is needed.

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