Living An Embodied Life

Working on behalf of others well-being brings joy and purpose to our own lives.  We are built to nurture and connect with one another.

-Daniel Siegel, Author of The Mindful Therapist

The above reminds me of the self determination theory which is based on three motivational factors :

1. Autonomy, 2. Mastery, and 3. Purpose.

 Implicit in the statement about working on behalf of others well-being is that we have the skills, caring, and time to provide the experiences that enrich the lives of our clientele. 

The irony is that healthcare workers, and certainly physical therapists, typically spend less time than they would prefer and what is considered necessary for a truly beneficial interaction to be fulfilled. 

This is contributing to considerable displeasure, disillusionment, and despair within our profession and healthcare in general. I interviewed over 30 practicing physical therapists about their experience working with chronic pain patients. Regardless of being a new grad or having over 40 years experience I heard expressions of frustration with the pressures of rendering services to our patients.

We have had to adapt, and subsequently our joy derived from our work has diminished or is absent.

A physical therapy colleague and wonderful Alexander practitioner put it this way– “When you look in the mirror are you the person you want to be?”

Are you practicing the dream that you had when you applied to physical therapy school, or entered massage training, or completed athletic training?

Let’s go back to the self-determination theory. 

1. Autonomy- the human urge to make decisions for oneself

 It is defacto sabotaged by at least the temporal limitations.

2. Mastery- the urge and need to create new things

It is severely interfered with for both the provider and client when learning requires more time than what is available- Time for in depth focus, reflection, insights, and beneficial action. 

3. Purpose- focusing on the well-being of others

It is bound to suffer as we attempt to find solutions to an apparently untenable situation.

What can be done about this?  Well, as with most challenging situations, the changes need to begin with and within ourselves. 

Maybe you would like to take a look at my proposed actions for a practitioner to feel more present, inwardly connected, and at peace. 

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Don’t get me wrong, this is no simple solution- but in a world fraught with stress I invite you to consider it as a beginning guide to the experience of inner calm and overall well-being.

   Peace be with you,