• What can we bring to the therapeutic relationship? A qualitative study of the beliefs and experiences of physiotherapists working with people with chronic pain

      Carus, Catherine; Hunter, S.J. (2017)
      Objectives: To explore experienced physiotherapists’ attitudes, beliefs and experiences regarding their personal role in contributing to effective therapeutic relationships when working with people with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Design: Descriptive qualitative design using semi-structured interviews. Setting: Within physiotherapy departments in two National Health Service acute secondary care trusts in the North West of England. Participants: Six experienced physiotherapists working with people with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Data Analysis: Thematic coding analysis of transcribed interview recordings Main outcomes: Four overarching themes emerged from the data: Listening to the person; a caring understanding of the person’s situation; engaging the person and coming together; and moving forwards. Results: Participants emphasized the importance of building effective therapeutic relationships when working with people with chronic pain, seeking to create these by engaging with the person, to promote a strong collaborative partnership. Participants highlighted the themes of listening to the person’s story and showing a caring understanding of their situation through empathy and belief with validation. The final theme of moving forward emphasized how positive therapeutic relationships aid the rehabilitation process in enabling people to make positive changes in their lives. Conclusions: A clearer understanding of how physiotherapists engender positive therapeutic relationships has the potential to improve training and service development priorities for physiotherapists working in the area of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Future studies should seek to further define the core dimensions impacting therapeutic relationships, from the perspectives of both physiotherapists and people with chronic musculoskeletal pain.