Five Ways to Recognize a Quality Physical Therapist

The field of physical therapy requires a thorough background in anatomy and therapy techniques. It also requires people skills to encourage patients through sometimes-difficult treatments that they need to regain full function. A number of tips will help you recognize a superior physical therapist.

Establish a Trusting Partnership

The most important thing to look for in a physical therapist is someone who can establish a rapport with each patient in their care. Understanding the needs and concerns of individual patients helps to build a foundation of trust for the sometimes-difficult work of therapy. Therapists who educate patients on what they will be doing and why they are doing it can help them to take an active part in their own recovery. If you can rely on the therapist to help you work hard, but not cause unnecessary pain or distress, you will feel confident in the progress of your rehabilitation.

Listen to Concerns

Physical therapy can often be tiring and lead to discomfort after sessions. Physical therapists who listen to patients’ concerns and ensure that they have the information they need to manage their post-therapy discomfort will give their patients a better chance to accomplish their therapeutic tasks. Close contact with physicians can often help you achieve success while in therapy.

Encourage Superior Effort

Your physical therapist must also be an effective cheerleader on your behalf to get you to therapeutic goals and to help you overcome any resistance to discomfort. When you are putting forth the effort to reach your goals, they should recognize it and encourage you to continue your hard work to get back to complete wellness. When they earn a doctorate in physical therapy, the finer points of patient care become an integral part of their training. Physical therapy can often be a long journey for you as a patient. Your therapist should celebrate small successes along the way, remembering that all patients thrive on positive feedback.

Respect Personal Boundaries

The intense one-on-one interaction of physical therapists with patients requires that the therapist be particularly sensitive to personal boundary issues. Karen, who completed the program at RMU, says, “Because psychology plays such an important role in physical therapy, knowing your patient’s personality can be critical to success.” Your therapist should adjust his or her therapy methods to suit your individual needs. Learn more about the skills involved in physical therapy at

Anticipate Problems

In some cases, the road to full recovery is not smooth. A good physical therapist can anticipate the stages of patient difficulty and can re-adjust treatment to suit changing physical needs.

Experienced, professional physical therapists understand the importance of these five ways of interacting with their patients and work hard to fulfill the individual needs of each individual.