How Can Movement Quality Be Promoted in Clinical Practice? A Phenomenological Study of Physical Therapist Experts
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Background. In recent years, physical therapists have paid greater attention to body awareness. Clinicians have witnessed the benefits of supporting their patients' learning of movement awareness through the promotion of their movement quality. Objective. The aim of this study was to investigate how physical therapist experts promote movement quality in their usual clinical settings. Design. A phenomenological research design that included a sampling strategy was devised. Using specific criteria, 6 lead physical therapists nominated a group of physical therapist experts from the fields of neurology, primary health care, and mental health. Fifteen informants, 5 from each field, agreed to participate. Methods. In-depth interviews were conducted with a semistructured interview guide. The informants were invited to simply describe what they had experienced to be successful therapeutic processes for promoting movement quality. Each interview was audiotaped and transcribed. The data analysis was based on a multistep model. Results. Three main themes emerged from the data. First, the physical therapists' embodied presence and movement awareness served as a precondition and an orientation for practice. Embodied presence is a bodily felt sense, a form of personal knowing that evokes understanding and fosters meaning. Second, creating a platform for promoting movement quality revealed implementation of psychological attitudes. Third, action strategies for promoting movement quality suggested a movement awareness learning cycle and components for clinical use. Conclusions. This study demonstrated specific attitudes and skills used by physical therapist experts to promote movement quality in their clinical practice. These results may serve as a therapeutic framework for promoting movement quality in clinical physical therapy, although further research is needed.