I had an ah-ha moment the other day. Ah-ha moments are interesting—I can’t predict when they’ll surface or how powerful they’ll be. The one thing I can always count on, is that they will teach me something I hadn’t considered before.
This particular moment came as I was instructing a patient in a breathing and core muscle activation technique. He and I have worked together, on and off, for the past 5 years for rehab, to wellness, then back to rehab.
As he concentrated on my cues and tried to do as I instructed, he suddenly stopped.
“You know Sydney, this is really frustrating,” he said.
“I know. It takes practice but you’re getting it,” I replied.
Then the ah-ha moment.
“I think you think it’s really great that you’re always learning new things, but for a patient, it’s really frustrating.”
And then I understood.
I had never considered that my excitement about having a greater understanding of the assessment and treatment techniques we employ could be a source of frustration for my patients. What I was teaching 5 years ago, may, in fact, be very different that what I am teaching today. There isn’t a one size fits all treatment approach for a given condition and every day we’re learning more and more.
I do think it’s great that we haven’t figured everything out and we understand more about the human body every day. How dull would it be if we knew all there is to know and that was all there is? Over the course of my 10 years as a physical therapist, I have grown and changed my treatment strategy. While my core philosophy remains the same, my techniques and understanding have evolved as I’ve continued to learn from research, from experience, and, let’s face it, from trial and error. I will continue to learn and quite possibly change how I do things from time to time, in the hopes that I’m creating an ah-ha moment for someone else.