Posts Tagged ‘creativity in physical therapy’

Finding Peace in the Cancer Storm

Saturday, February 4th, 2012



I'm excited to share that the Wellness Community of Arizona has designated me as the fourth and final speaker in their Spirit of Science Lecture Series. The last speaker in the series was Chris Carmichael, who helped the seven-time Tour de France winner recover from advanced testicular cancer is the author of seven books, including The New York Times bestseller, “Chris Carmichael’s Food for Fitness.” 

My lecture/interactive presentation will emphasize the importance of awareness and stability of mind/heart through the harrowing experience of oncology care and life post treatment. I'll expand on many of the creative approaches both patients and their caregivers can employ moment-to-moment in their journey. EmbodiWorks - Whole MattersThese ideas were described on Jeannine Walston's site last year here

Cancer invites/demands that we respond. So much of rehabilitation in cancer care is about striving, winning, overcoming and fight the war on cancer. These are good and honorable responses, but too little value and opportunity is given the other equally valuable response….that is surrender, acceptance and presence. Herein lies the paradox of "both" …neither the right answer, but each holding the transformative healing potential the diagnosis of cancer brings forward in those with the diagnosis and their communities.

Please forward and share this notice with those you think might benefit from a pleasant evening on Thursday, February 23rd at The Wellness Community of Arizona, 6-8 pm. See the contact info to the right to RSVP as seating is limited. For those that can't attend that evening, the program is being videotaped and will be posted on the The Wellness Community site in the future. I'll post details. 

Here is a flyer to print, post or share: Flyer

Hope to see you there!  We're creating the future of rehabilitation ….today!












Yoga and Stroke Rehabilitation

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Here's your opportunity to learn how to incorporate yoga into stroke rehabilitation!

Dr. Arlene Schmid, PhD, OTR

I'll be teaching "Yoga for Stroke Rehabilitation: The DSR Method" a 2-day continuing education course in Scottsdale AZ on Sept 24-25, 2011. Details at .  


There was quite a buzz re: the new study my colleague and lead researcher Arlene A. Schmid, OTR, PhD presented this week. Her bio is here. The summary is below beneath the APTA banner. The study made the news on the EIM Daily Dose, Twitter and weekly APTA News Now. 

After teaching the techniques and value of bringing Yoga principles and technologies into rehabilitation since 1998, it is gratifying to see the clinical evidence begin to emerge. One of my first students, Julie Bastille, PT in 1998 went on to break ground by having the first yoga-based stroke rehab study in the PTJ.















Now today, as Dr. Schmid is quoted this week, the research around Yoga is "really taking off" and no better evidenced than at the 2011 Symposiums on Yoga Therapy and Research I helped launch in 2007 as then vice-president of the International Association of Yoga Therapy, and later president 2008-2009.   

Please spread the word about this exciting course offering coming up in September. The course is designed for rehab professionals and Yoga therapists. I presented it last year for past AZAPTA's president Kay Wing, PT's company, SWAN Rehab, the spring 2011 AZAOTA Conference, and at the 2009 APTA Annual conference. Pruitt Rehabilitation out of North Carolina also sponsored me in GA in February of 2011.

Here's some feedback from those courses:


“The hands-on with actual patients. At first we  all looked at each other like “what do we do”?  But then it just started flowing…Matt was very approachable and the small class size was a big plus” … “I didn’t expect this to be such an emotional experience, but I think it will help me have closer relationships with my patients.” - Jocelyn Unger, DPT Tucson

 “The amazing work and energy that Matt has put into this development…what an honor!”…
“I will tell as many people as possible about your course.” - Betsy Shandalov, OTR   Owner,

“The simplicity.  Less is more!  Breathe!” - Tanyia Schier, OTR Swan Rehab

“The practical applications.” … “No improvements – it was a perfect blend of theory, experimental learning.” - Karen Mueller, PT, NAU Faculty

“Great interaction and personal growth with breathing – yoga components.” … “The patient interaction to ‘put it all together’ was very helpful.  Good hands on throughout.”  – Barbara Timmers, PTA, Mayo, Scottsdale

“Watching change ‘arrive’ in fellow participants.” - Cheryl Van Demark, PT, RYT
Hope to see you there! Enrollment is limited to the first 12 registrants….you can't learn this from the back of an auditorium!

PT in<br />
 Motion - News Now

Yoga Increases Balance, Endurance in Veterans, Says Indiana University Researcher
Balance measures improved in older veterans with stroke who performed yoga poses…



What is Yoga Therapy?

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

I will be writing a series on Yoga therapeutics for a local monthly paper, AZ Health & Wellness

Here is the link to the first article, "What is Yoga Therapy?".



Having been on the committee at that drafted the first operational definition for the assoication, I can now appreciate the time and care we took to formalize a rich and meaningful definition. The craft involved in taking such a deep practice such as Yoga therapy and bringing it down to a operational definition was hard work. By no means exclusive or exhaustive, I'd love to hear your response or questions to this article written 4 years later after we first published an answer to "What is Yoga Therapy?".

Please spread the word!

What Therapeutic Exercise Ought to Create

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Transform Your Body, Change Your Mind


What if therapeutic exercise actually changed your patient's reality right now, right there in the clinic, AND they knew instinctively what to do next?

It can, it will…once we step up to claim the full power of our scope of practice to go beyond mere stength/flexibility mindsets to literally trans-form lives.


Don't believe what I am saying?


… give yourself the gift of the experience instead.

Take 65 minutes to nourish your mindbody connection this week by following along with this simple class I taught last month.

Have fun with this one!

Push the Play Button to Listen

MP3 File

The DSR MethodTM : What we pay attention to & How we pay attention….changes every-thing!


Let me know what your experience was….



It Shouldn’t Hurt to be a PT/OT: Treating with Pain

Sunday, June 13th, 2010


In my research at the Courage Center in MN we discovered how many of our colleagues were "playing in pain." Pain from:

  • Exhaustion
  • Burnout
  • Lost Spirit
  • Musculoskeletal Strain
  • Numbness and flat affect

Now this month in the Physical Therapy Journal there is an important study (see below for link and summary) that examines what turns out to be a far too common phenomena:

PTs and OTs in higher than normal levels experience pain

and continue to work with it!

What's most shocking is why. For the PTs at least, branded as heroes/heroines and sages by their national association, the reasons are neither brave nor smart.

What is needed is what I blogged about last month:  Rehab BurnoutMatthew J Taylor Matthew Sanford Matt Squared

As professionals that are trained and practice in a disassociated mindbody manner, we ignore, work through and press on, ignoring our own important mindbody relationship….and in the end both we and our patients suffer as a result. My colleague Matt Sanford delivers a powerful 50 min keynote here to young healthcare students…make time to listen. When the peers we worked with in MN began to tend to their own mindbody relationship, not only did they soar, but it spilled over to their patients as well.

When is this insanity going to stop?

Hard to tell. I was scheduled to be in Boston tomorrow to teach a 2-day pre-conference on Mindfulness in PT….but no one signed up and we were scratched from the docket.

Hmmmmm, and we talk about our patients being clueless???

So this summer I'm going to roll out a new way of being in rehab…it's going to blow past all the deadwood CEU material and address US….the rehab pros and our urgent need for creativity and change within a culture of fear and self neglect.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts/experiences around this topic of rehab pros "playing in pain"?


Impact of Work-Related Pain on Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists

Marc Campo and Amy R. Darragh

Vol. 90, No. 6, June 2010, pp. 905-920





"The participants noted substantial effects of work-related pain at work, at home, and in their career plans. All of the therapists were concerned about their potential clinical longevity. The professional culture complicated these effects by forcing therapists into a professional ideal."


Please send this along to your network…it has to stop.


Be sure to sign up for the newsletter in the left margin to learn about the new training and hit the RSS to follow this blog.

Player Piano PT?

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010



Why do so many rush headlong for the 'right' treatment sequence/protocol?

Is it fear?


Lack of confidence?

Whatever the reason, the push for a 'formula' of care results in just this kind of performance….

and too often the final clip is what happens to the 'audience'…no one is moved or touched, often literally….to include the "player".


We are better than this!


Only when the heart is involved, playing with mastery (clinical) and to the audience (patient values), does the truly memorable and moving performance happen!


How do you thrill your audience?

Mirror, Mirror…Who is the most creative of all?

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Re-Habilitation: "To make fit to live in (again or for the first time)"

Each person or organization brings unique circumstances to rehabilitation. Cookie-cutter approaches and statistically average group responses to clinical trials may suggest a general direction, but are void of any creativity in a complex situation. 

So what is a creative response?

And who is the most creative of all?

These, like the Queen's own inquiry re: fairest, are actually deeply spiritual questions. They ask, Who am I? What am I? and their answers then generate drive and motivation to act/move in response.

These are questions that I as a professional must ask as part of my development of clinical mastery (pillar of EBM), as well as How creative do I think my client's are?… and therefore, What is their role?(second pillar of EBM:  Patient Values), and then finally, what's been done, accepted AND published in the literature? (3rd pillar, Levels of research)

We've got it all backwards right now in PT for sure, and in organizational management as well. Our constrained perspectives limit us to only what has been done, shutting out "What could be?" Those of us in creativity work can tell you that's a big dead end to creating a future that is "fit to live in." Whether one is living with an ACL deficient knee, an aggressive carcinoma or a dysfunctional job in a dysfunctional company in a dysfunctional economy.

So who is the most creative of all?

Here are a couple thoughts that when I came upon them resulted in the comfort box being not only stepped out of, but broken down, recycled and dispersed back into a whole new raft of perspectival (dictionary says that's a new word) containers that I use today:

  1. Creativity is the ability for an organization, system or individual to adapt to the environment…easy enough.
  2. The individual human is now sub-ordinate in evolutionary chain to the more influential and dominant top of the life chain: Multi-national corporations (See Senge et al, Presence, 2004).
  3. Single cell organisms while less complex, are faster at evolution/adaptation and have a broad and robust communication organizational net: see Swine flu etc.

So where does that leave us? 

The good news is we're right in the middle as a holon…composed of trillions of single cell organisms (both "us" and our "flora") AND we together compose the multi-nationals. 

So be sure you do your personal mindbody practice, because as Peter Senge (2004, p. 234) says,


"We may not be able to change the larger systems overnight, but we can commit to the continual development of awareness and the capacity to choose. That’s why personal cultivation is so important. It keeps you sensitive and in the matrix."


Now, go get your mirror, ask the questions, and let me know what you hear!


Entrepreneurship and Change

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Had the pleasure of spending the evening with these 3 colleagues exchanging ideas about where change comes from, how to promote change and what are the barriers. Lots of good ideas and I'll be blogging more after we each do our presentations tomorrow. 

My sense is I'll come at it a little differently but I want to hear their presentation first….stay tuned!


How To Build Your Business by Getting Your Employees to Think More Like an Entrepreneur

Jennifer Wilson PT, MBA
Principal, the Leadership Institute, Initiatives Consulting

Jamey T. Schrier PT, OCS, DPT
President, Schrier Physical Therapy

Janet Bezner PT, PhD
Deputy Executive Director, American Physical Therapy Association

Session Description:
As an entrepreneur, you recognize the value of and need for innovation in your practice – it's gotten you where you are. How do you foster innovation in your practice to both enhance your practice and foster succession planning? Some of the skills you'll learn in this session include: creating a culture of innovation, recognizing and building support for potential blind spots, creating other entrepreneurs in your practice and determining the best way to implement new ideas. This session will benefit you by providing new information/tips on how to progress your practice. Participants will be invited to contribute to interactive discussions through the session.
Learner Objectives:
1. Evaluate the key aspects needed to create a culture of innovation. 
2. Review key characteristics of entrepreneurship.
3. Recognize blind spots limiting the entrepreneurial capacity of your practice.
4. Develop a plan to build innovative support systems.
5. Develop an approach to creating other entrepreneurs in your practice.
6. Determine the best way to implement new ideas.
Administrator Council Luncheon: 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Speaker”Creating a Vibrant, Sustainable Business Model Through Change

Matthew Taylor PT, PhD
Dynamic Systems Rehabiltation
Session Description:
This session will present the science of change technology and organizational learning as applied to a private practice physical therapy organization. Practical examples will be provided of creating positive feedback systems to fuel growth and ingenuity for more traditional practices, niche practices and those looking to diversify. The focus will move between issues as they apply to individual staff and the larger group as a whole, to include its role in the community. Evidence for practices used to address change will be presented. Examples from Fortune 50 (fifty) companies will be cited as well as case reports from small private practices. The session will conclude with how to establish ongoing practices of inquiry both personally and as an organization.