"What do you expect from physiotherapy?": a conversation analytic approach to goal setting in physiotherapy

Schoeb Mezzanotte, Veronika (2014) "What do you expect from physiotherapy?": a conversation analytic approach to goal setting in physiotherapy. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Professional practice guidelines direct health care professionals to include patients in the decision-making process and to establish collaboration for therapeutic goal setting. Currently, little is known about the interaction between patients and professionals during this process. The aim of this study is to shed light on goal setting practices in physiotherapy.

Twenty-eight consenting patients seeking physiotherapy for their musculoskeletal problems and their therapists were videotaped during three consecutive sessions. Sequences related to goal setting were selected, and Conversation Analysis was chosen to analyse patient-therapist interactions.

The data comprise fifteen episodes in which therapists enquire explicitly about goals. Findings show that two assumptions underlie these enquiries: a) that patients have a goal in mind, and b) that they are able to articulate it. My data indicate that this is not straightforwardly the case in practice. Patients orient in their responses to epistemic dimensions related to issues of whether they have access to this knowledge, and whether they treat themselves as entitled to know about goals. When patients respond to therapists’ enquiries, they use a variety of interactional resources to convey their epistemic orientation. I further found that therapists use different strategies for following-up patients’ responses: these have different implications for patients’ continued talk. My analysis also shows that a goal can only be treated as acceptable by therapists when it is amenable to improvement by physiotherapy.

My study indicates that the process of goal setting is not as straightforward as policy documents suggest. In actual practice it requires addressing and managing underlying assumptions and epistemic dimensions. A better comprehension of the interaction between physiotherapists and patients will contribute to better understand the limitations of current goal setting theory, and how and why current policies on goal setting may not have the desired effect.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Pilnick, A.
Parry, R.
Keywords: physiotherapy, goal setting, communication, conversation analysis
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Sociology and Social Policy
Item ID: 14210
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2014 10:29
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 18:17
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/14210

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