Seeking thoughts - what are the concepts underlying physical therapy practice?

In building a DPT concept based curriculum it is necessary to establish the concepts underlying physical therapy practice. I clearly have my opinions (and they are broader than the blog would have you believe - but yes, causality, dynamic inference, hierarchy, adaptation are certainly on my short list); but I am seeking the opinions of others.

In her Cerasoli Lecture, Cecilia Graham, PT, PhD, (here) points out that concepts have been described as “big ideas” that provide a framework for facts and topics, and are used to generate knowledge (physiology example). Dr. Graham does an excellent job of using a conceptual approach to teach the value of a conceptual approach!

I believe causation is a big concept - hence the knowledge based practice model positing causal models as a representation of the knowledge generated (generalized) from observations (research) and used in practice. But there are many clearly other very important concepts for PT practice.

In developing a new curriculum it is important to identify concepts that provide a framework to many previously accepted components of PT practice that should be included in a DPT curriculum. Components such as those included in the Normative Model and CAPTE Criteria. In a lot of ways concepts are part of the criteria - given that the criteria are hierarchical (nested) as can be seen with just this small portion of an XMIND “conceptual” map of the normative model and CAPTE curriculum content criteria. This is clearly not fully expanded as it would be even harder to read here.

DPT Curriculum

If anyone is interested in the actual XMIND file of the above just let me know (was created with, can be viewed and modified with the free version), with the caveat that any modifications you make to it be shared back.

A concept based curriculum focuses on the concepts, knowing that the details are then learned more readily in a practical, real world framework.

I am looking for practicing PTs that might be interested in a meeting (phone, video and/or in person) to discuss their thoughts on what the concepts underlying PT practice are - in particular I am looking for insights you have garnered through your experiences that offer a fresh perspective or insight into practice that you would like to see incorporated into a DPT curriculum (such as I have done with the concept of causation and dynamic inference here in the blog these past 8 months).

For example, the series on differential diagnosis (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here and there may be others) highlights how the concept causation provides a framework for differential diagnosis; the series on clinical reasoning (starts here) highlights how the concept of causation provides a framework for clinical reasoning.

If interested - please reach out. If you are reading this through Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, please share with anyone you think might be interested.

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