Monthly Archives: August 2015

What kind of Therapist do you want to be?

When I first started practicums (which feels like ages ago), my first supervisor told me to “work under as many different therapists as you can” to see different styles and ways of working alongside different clientele and focuses. Since then I’ve worked in numerous clinics under different ATs and even a Chiro/AT. I’ve attended extra seminars and conferences, and begun my own training and movement client base under the supervision of my mentor. I took that advice to heart and tried my best to learn and observe a variety of treatment styles, even if they didn’t always match up with my own philosophies. What better way to learn and grow your own ideas then to experience other’s ideas?

Recently, after a discussion on different treatment styles, philosophies, and options,  I was asked by a young patients mother what kind of Therapist I wanted to be. After close to 4 years observing, practicing under supervision, and interning… you’d think I’d have a fluent answer to give. Yet, I struggled with my answer. It’s not that I don’t have an idea or a perception of who and what I’m becoming as a professional, but it was how to describe it.

The thing with the profession I’m in is that pretty much every successful and practicing AT/Kinesiologist I’ve met has the same vision for what we do. Varying ways to get the same thing done. Yes, personalities and treatment styles are different.. but the atmosphere and goals are generally the same. Some may focus more on manual/soft tissue work while some my focus more on movement modalities. Some attend conferences and seminars on one thing, while others attend with interest in another. But at the end of the day, they all want their patients to get better, be better, and live better. They accomplish this with patient education, continuing ed for themselves, evidence based treatments, and knowledgeable exercise therapy programs.

So.. what kind of therapist do I want to be?

Early on I recognized I had a love for solving a problem and improving performance. This is one reason I fell in love with biomechanics and movement correction. Not only do these areas benefit athletes of all levels, they are practical and useful to general population clients as well. I’ve always had a thing for teaching and empowering people, which has blossomed as I’ve progressed into this career choice. The past month or so I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a client progress from being unable to walk without the support of crutches and deal with two legs that just would not do his bidding to being able to walk across the room standing up straight, unsupported. His renewed positivity and insatiable drive to keep improving is inspiring and motivating to say the least. Every patient or client I have that realizes their own ability to improve themselves is something that inspires and motivates me. I’ve realized more and more lately how blessed I am to have found a career that enables me to empower others, and also brings substance and meaning to my own life. This is something I’m very grateful for.

Of course there are days where I’m tired, I’m unmotivated, and I’m nervous for my upcoming certification exams. Some of those days I still end up working with clients, or doing my jobs.. and I always come out of the day feeling better and a little more motivated. Leading up to my exams this fall, I am both nervous, and excited. I know I have a solid base to support me and I have a preparation plan leading up to the actual exams. More then anything I feel undeniably ready to take this next step in my career path. As someone who is always about 5years ahead of herself, this exam is only a doorway to the next thing.

I want to be a therapist that is inspiring, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. I want my clients to leave sessions feeling like they have the tools to help themselves. I never want to stop learning, or lose the ability to adapt to each patient and work in a style that best suits them. I want to be a chameleon therapist that can fit into anyone’s mindset, see through their eyes, and change their perceptions on their body, health, and lifestyles if needed. I want to promote my profession and help change the way the world views healthcare. I want to help athletes better themselves and be the best they can be. I want it all, and I’m determined to get it.

This week I completed my interning hours and finished my last university course. 1200 hours plus some in clinic and field on top of 4 years in University, all leading up to this fall’s exams. I have an excellent support system behind me, and an every better vision for who I want to become. I think it’s a question every aspiring AT should ask themselves… what kind of therapist do I want to be? The way to finding the answer takes blood (usually other’s), sweat and tears.. but as any journey often is.. it’s worth it. Here’s to the next step in this adventure!

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Phases

In the past week, in an attempt to make up for some of the fun (spending) I had while on holidays, I’ve worked close to 90hrs. Luckily most of those hours were spent at horse shows as the medical coverage. A world I’m very used to.

While it was very nice to catch up with some of the regular crowd and observe the sport I’ve been a part of for so long, it also gave me lots of thinking time. While I worked away at my CV, reflected on internship hours and progress of my own business, I recognised that everything comes and goes in phases.

I’ve learned many things since venturing into developing my own professional image and business, which is bound to happen when you go into such a venture with zero business experience or training. I’m pretty good at learning on the fly, but I also battle impatience with progress as I go.

A year ago at this time I was making the tough, but necessary, decision to step back from competing. It wasn’t even a tough decision in the fact that it was so clear what I needed to do for both myself and my horse. And I don’t regret any part of it. However, it did change my lifestyle quite a bit.

After a stressful first last semester at University, and a rough growing period through the early winter I stumbled into learning how to focus my energies on bettering myself, practicing gratitude, and figuring out where I stood now that I didn’t quite have the routine of spring and summer training to look forward to. While I haven’t ever really gone through a huge longing to find horses to ride and train on lately, I realized that I have struggled with finding a hobby that really keeps me motivated since last summer. I became quite regular with yoga through the winter, but as spring came and I got busy with business and new clients I phased that practice out (temporarily of course). Then came going on holidays, and returning was a stark reality of something all of those who are self-employed and newly started will likely get… all the leads on clients I’d had before I left had moved onto other things, gone to the lake, or lost interest.

Not a big deal as I am not solely self-employed, but a realization that I’d entered a quiet period. For MB, July-August are always quiet in most areas as people take off for the lake or other things. And since I’m now in crunch time to finish up internship hours, it’s almost a good thing I don’t have too many new consults on the go. However, impatience always sets in when I realize the phase I’m in doesn’t match up with where my head is ready to be.

Slowly but surely I am getting clients back onto a regular schedule, and restarting my regular marketing. Nobody ever tells you how easy it is to poor endless energy into your creation, and not see much return. I would be lying if I said I haven’t had a few freak outs the last month or so. With all the little stressors that come along with starting something new and out of the box, plus beginning to study for the certifcation exams this November, AND working three part-time jobs to support those things and live in general I’ve found a love for days where I’m not required to be somewhere.

Before this Spring I was the type that needed to be busy all the time, and usually was. Then I got hit with Mono, and while I got over the worst of the symptoms within a month.. my threshold for stress and energy output is still recovering. I’m sure there are other factors feeding into the decreased energy, but every once in a while I have a week or two where I’m visibly lacking in vim and vigor.

Luckily this weekend I have entirely off, and off is exactly what I plan on being. Fitting in a few social calls is all I have planned and am thoroughly enjoying it. I’ll take every chance I get to recoup and re-organize! It’s probably a good thing I don’t have heading back to school in the fall to look forward too, I’m not sure if I am ready to add in a full semester to all the other things I have going on. Certification with be just enough for me, thanks!

Coming up for the rest of this month I continue as the medic for a few hunter jumper shows, get a study schedule in order, and continue working on improving my own health and energy levels. Since this weekend isn’t crazy I chose it to try out a juice fast. 48hrs in of just juicing fresh fruits and veggies, eating only watermelon, fresh made vegetable soup/broth, pineapple, drinking cranberry juice and apple cider vinegar, and lots of water and herbal teas.. I’m already feeling revived. Although I also slept half the day today, that may be part of it as well. With the mono my immune system also took a good hit, so I’m rebuilding my energy, immune, and digestive systems back up slowly but surely.

As students head back to school this fall, so will I to practice and study the last four years of my education. With my three-part certification coming up in November, I’m getting back into that headspace. It’s actually a challenge to start studying things that you know, but haven’t studied for in quite a while. I’m tentatively booked for a few more clinics this fall, returning to places I worked with in the Spring. Another thing I”m looking forward to; seeing how riders were able to use the tools I gave them months ago (and seeing if they did use them at all), and giving them some more.

The Heels Down Conundrum

Integrative Movement & Katmah Training

From they day we start riding we were told to get our heels down as far as we can. Keeping the heels down and the toes up is a common thing to want to instil into a new rider, mainly for safety reasons. Us riders spend most of our time functioning off of the ball of our foot in the stirrup. Though it’s common to see even the most advanced riders jamming their heels down and keeping them that way. The forced rigidity in keeping the heels down this way is not necessarily a benefit to us in the tack (or in the rest of life).

Lets start with a brief anatomy lesson.

ankle

There is a whole bunch of stuff in the foot and ankle, but the joint we want to focus on today is the “subtalar joint” which is the joint that moves the foot/ankle into “dorsiflexion” (heels down) and…

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