How did you become interested in PRI® and when did you attend your first course (you can also talk about your educational/professional history that led you to PRI)?
It’s a funny story, really. It starts with the fact that I am kind of a CE nerd; I always wanted to continue to be the best PT I could be, so I was always taking CE courses, and my focus for many years was getting certified as a manual therapist, so a lot of my training was with the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy. I received my certification and got my OCS from ABPTS. Our company, Olympic Physical Therapy had a strong reputation in the area for high level therapists, and we were always hosting CE courses. Somehow (I can’t remember how it got on our radar) in 2010, we got signed up to host Myokin and as usual, I signed up to take the course (being the CE nerd I was..). The week before the course had been a stressful one and the day before class started, I said to myself, “I need another hip/lumbar spine course like I need a hole in the head. I’m beat; I don’t want to go.. but I’ll go and if it’s lame I won’t go back on Sunday”. Well, needless to say it was Myokin with James and Jen and it blew my mind. It was such a refreshing paradigm shift for me, I had to go back for more. I came back after that class, and told all of my staff that they needed to take the classes…and the rest is history! We are the first, and only, Postural Restoration Center in Washington state!
I know you work as a clinic director, what are some of the benefits and challenges to getting your staff and other clinics in a corporate structure to get on board with PRI?
The biggest challenge is recognizing the importance of investing in sending support staff to CE/PRI courses. We often utilize support staff who have 4 year degrees in Exercise Science or Kinesiology to help PT’s with patient in exercise instruction. I feel it is crucial that these care extenders are on the same page with us. And while we do a lot of training in house, nothing compares to a course. When I was an owner of Olympic PT, I budgeted and paid for my staff to attend CE courses. Kudos to PRI to making their coursework open to allowing them to attend!
What would you say to people who are considering taking a PRI class or becoming Postural Restoration Certified™?
For people who are considering taking a PRI course, be prepared to have your paradigm shifted a little (or a lot, depending on your background). The first course, I always say, is like drinking from a fire hose. It can seem overwhelming as you try to adjust your thinking. Sometimes just grasping the big concepts takes a lot of attention, so you miss some things. After a few classes, it starts to feel like you can actually drink from the hose, and after a few more, you begin to realize the water has a bit of flavor to it. And prepare yourself to have an open mind, and consider that you may want to take the courses more than once. I think I have taken Myokin about 6 times, including the times I have been a teaching assistant.
Who have been your mentor(s) in your career?
I have had a couple of mentors, but many inspiring minds. As a business owner and clinician, my first mentor was Craig London and his wife Marty. They are who truly shaped me as a clinician and a manager/business owner. Craig was always very eclectic in his treatment approach, which opened my perspective to a variety of treatment options. He was also our CE coordinator for the company, so he brought in a variety of schools of thought to make sure we had skilled, well rounded PT’s in the company. My business partners at Olympic Physical Therapy all contributed to my growth, and I have a friend and accountant named Tom who has always been a great business advisor.
How do you go about mentoring others in your profession?
I feel my responsibility as a manager and a clinician is to lead by example and respect the individuality of each colleague and employee. We all are inspired by different things, learn different ways, and have different priorities and perspectives in life. Having a genuine respect for that, while eliminating judgement and getting to know people helps to be a more effective mentor. I try to be authentic in my interactions with others and show my passion for what I do, and if they are interested I help teach them in a way that they can learn. Taking time to practice techniques, talk over lunch breaks, teach study groups and inservices, provide resources, etc.
What were your problems with bringing PRI into an area that is so traditionally an orthopedic manual therapy part of the country?
It has grown so much in this area, I don’t think there were many problems! I think the people who were open to a new perspective from our traditional treatment approach, really embraced it. Some were quicker than others, and some just didn’t find it to be their ‘cup of tea’, which is fine. To be honest, I think PRI is an amazing adjunct to orthopedic manual therapy! I blend them all the time together. I strongly feel that being a physical therapist with a large “Tool Box” allows us to adapt and treat a wider array of patients. There can be a place and time for all of it, which is why I loved being a CE nerd and have a long list of varied CE courses I have taken, from David Butler to Strain Counterstrain, to Manual Therapy and Taping, to Energy Medicine and Hellerwork, in addition to PRI. Some people are just happy with their level of expertise as orthopedic manual therapists and aren’t into PRI. And that’s okay; they just refer their patients to me and my staff when they get challenged with their patients. They often can see when someone needs a PRI approach, and they appropriately refer out. The same way I refer out if someone needs a skill that I can’t provide. We all have the best interest of our patients in mind, not our own egos (hopefully!).
Which PRI course has been the most influential in your development as a professional?
That’s a hard one. Because if I hadn’t taken Myokin to start with, I wouldn’t have started down this worm hole. But in terms of expanding my expertise, I would have to say Cervical Cranio Mandibular Restoration back in 2012. It has opened up the type of patients that I can successfully treat, and has expanded my referral base and professional network to dentists and orthodontists and sleep specialists and beyond. But I have to say, the first time I took Advanced Integration, my ability to synthesize PRI really came together. So all of those courses, for different reasons.