A Therapeutic Alliance - A Guest Blog by Jason Robinson

I recently had the good fortune to be one of the participants to attend Low Back Pain- Patient Experience Start to Finish at Entropy Physiotherapy & Wellness in Chicago, IL.  My co-worker Sarah and I were so excited for the inaugural presentation of this course lead by the venerable, Jerry Durham and the energetic, Jeff Moore.  And we were very excited to see Entropy and the culture Sarah and Sandy had created. 

Anyone who knows me well and my history may find it odd that I ended up at such a course.  I am an SCS, a sports guy, and have spent the vast majority of my career in an ortho/sport setting.  In 2009, I left the employment of a company who was the preferred provider for a major league baseball team, parlaying that gig into a business of coordinating off-season training and overseeing post injury rehab for MLB and college baseball players.  At that time, I had also interviewed for the minor league rehabilitation coordinator position for an MLB team, so by all accounts my career path was crystal clear… I was going to be working in professional baseball.  If you’d told me then that I’d eventually sit in a class and learn the nerve density of a certain part of the female anatomy (and how that somehow connected to a low back and patient experience course) I would have called you nuts. 

But this speaks to the winds of change that are blowing in health care.  Jeff said it best, declaring that the time is now!  Different professional worlds are colliding as PTs and other providers are collaborating to address the changing landscape of direct referral, payment models, and population health.  And at the center of this movement is a renewed focus on the patient experience and establishing a therapeutic alliance between patient and provider: Relationship-Centered Care. 

This is the essence of “Physical Therapy 2.0”.  For me, this weekend exemplified change and a sense of momentum incomparable to any other professional course I’ve attended. It was truly transformative.  Ask any of the folks in attendance and I believe they would all say the same.  Regardless of how we were each interpreting the experience, there was a state of collective flow where we were all vibrating at the same frequency.  Whether it was opening a business, moving across the country, or trying to disrupt the medical industrial complex, there was a communal sense that we were all pulling for one another.  Jeff’s daily motivational recaps had us so charged up I mimicked flipping the table over, but I was seriously amped and just ready to treat people.  Ann Wendel connected the dots even deeper noting that we are patients too.  We have a personal and professional connection to relationship-centered care.  As a profession we are positioned best to lead this change.

Jerry took us through a great customer experience journey and emphasized taking the patient/customer through an emotional experience. 

It’s the emotional mind, or the emotional recollection of how we felt at a particular occasion that drives future behavior
— Dr. Joseph LeDoux


Sarah and I drove home with non-stop chatter.  Solidifying the vision of what our model of care can become. WE had been taken through an emotional experience and it will have a great impact on how we move forward with our clinical practice.  We felt we had gotten so much more from the course than we ever imagined.  We finally had a name for what we were discussing all those hours and trying so hard to describe before we realized there were other like-minded PT’s out there having the same thoughts and feelings.  We felt a kinship in the room and had the support of everyone there.  


Seven years ago I treated mostly athletes.  Now I treat people.  Not TKA’s, or ACL’s, or LBP, but PEOPLE! !  I never landed my professional baseball job and I live in a place I never thought I’d end up but I’m more excited, energized, and focused than ever to be part of a profession as awesome as Physical Therapy, and so prepared to take on the coming wave of change.  Thanks to Jerry and Jeff for leading the charge this weekend.  Thanks to the group of early adopters who were ready to see things differently and to do their part.  Thanks for their collective mentorship and guidance.  Finally, thanks to 2 pelvic health specialists who opened their doors to welcome this change and to help us all think outside the “box” (pun TOTALLY intended). 


Until next time,


Jason Robinson is a Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and overall functional movement expert and enthusiast.  Jason employs his movement-based practice in a variety of settings.  He is currently a Senior PT for Midwest Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) where he sees patients with a wide range of orthopedic and sports-related injuries.  He is also an adjunct lecturer for Advances in Clinical Education teaching a course titled Rehabilitation Across the Lifespan, which highlights concepts to help people recover from injury and move robustly and eloquently throughout life.  He has an extensive background in baseball having worked closely with the Texas Rangers Baseball Club and still coordinates off-season training for both amateur and MLB clients.  He is also a consultant to the Northern Illinois University Athletic Department serving as the team Physical Therapist for baseball, softball, and volleyball.