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  • Diane
    replied
    Barrett, find a research partner to steer the project, and do one yourself. Of course, you'll have to find a place to treat patients if you're shutting down your clinic..

    I really like the essay. The example of the Swedish navy being absolutely convinced the Soviets were invading them with submarines and divers (which turned out to be minks and seals, animals who are at home in deep water), whereupon they blasted the water with everything they could, is a metaphor for our mesodermal friends perhaps, who blast every pain as if some contrary piece of mesoderm deep inside simply refuses to "heal" or bend or move the right way.

    The Swedes remained vigilant, certain the Soviets were lying when they said they did not send submarines into Swedish waters. Finally they unlearned their vigilance after the Soviet regime changed completely, and realized they'd been fighting marine mammals. Hilarious.

    Here is more that pertains to us, my bolds:

    Surprisingly perhaps, technical experts may be among the most resistant to new ideas and to evidence that contradicts their current beliefs and methods. Their resistance has several bases. Experts must specialize and their specialized niches can become evolutionary dead-ends (Beyer, 1981). Because experts' niches confer high incomes and social statuses, they have much to lose from social and technical changes. Expertise creates perceptual filters that keep experts from noticing social and technical changes (Armstrong, 1985). Even while experts are gaining perception within their domains, they may be overlooking relevant events just outside their domains.

    Second, organizations make it more difficult to learn without first unlearning. People in organizations find it hard to ignore their current beliefs and methods because they create explicit justifications for policies and actions. Also, they integrate their beliefs and methods into coherent, rational structures in which elements support each other. These coherent structures have rigidity that arises from their complex interdependence. As a result, people in organizations find it very difficult to deal effectively with information that conflicts with their current beliefs and methods. They do not know how to accommodate dissonant information and they find it difficult to change a few elements of their interdependent beliefs and methods. The Swedish sailors who conducted the searches had been trained to interpret certain sounds as a submarine and rising bubbles as a diver; they had not been prepared for the sounds and bubbles made by animals. A Swedish navy that had just spent three weeks dropping depth charges and antisubmarine grenades in the belief that it had trapped an intruder was not ready for the idea that it had been deceived by playful young seals.

    Tushman, Newman, and Romanelli (1986) characterized organizations' development as long periods of convergent, incremental change that are interrupted by brief periods of "frame-breaking change."
    Kuhn said the same about science.
    They said "frame-breaking change occurs in response to or, better yet, in anticipation of major environmental changes." However, even if abrupt changes do sometimes "break" people's old perceptual frameworks, the more common and logical causal sequence seems to be the opposite one. That is, people undertake abrupt changes because they have unlearned their old perceptual frameworks.

    Third, unlearning by people in organizations may depend on political changes. Belief structures link with political structures as specific people espouse beliefs and methods and advocate policies (Hedberg, 1981).
    Hello, is this not the case in PT, wherein a mesodermal agenda has completely overridden any neuro one we might have once had?
    Since people resist information that threatens their reputations and careers, it may be necessary to change who is processing information before this information can be processed effectively. Thus, a change in control of the Swedish government may have been essential before the Defense Ministry could concede the possibility of errors in the conduct of antisubmarine hunts. A change in control of the Soviet Union may have been essential before the Swedes could allow the possibility of Russian vulnerability or truthfulness.

    Top managers' perceptual errors and self-deceptions are especially potent because senior managers can block actions proposed by their subordinates. Yet, senior managers are also especially prone to perceive events erroneously and to overlook bad news. Although their high statuses often persuade them that they have more expertise than other people, their expertise tends to be out-of-date. They have strong vested interests, and they know they will catch the blame if current policies and actions prove wrong (Starbuck, 1989).

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  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    Eric,

    Your "numb to failure" line went right through me. I think that this is mainly what I see. When I interrogate reality during the first ten minutes of my workshop by mentioning that half of the class has chronic discomfort a number will nod their heads in agreement, slightly amazed that I would have the gall to mention this and others remain perfectly still and placid. It's not unusual to find many people in pain in the latter group. They've been found out, and their culturally induced "poker face" has been employed in an effort to hide.

    My mind often returns to a seasoned therapist in Dallas who began a conversation by asking me if this kind of handling would help her patients. When I asked her what she thought was going on inside the people she saw and what she thought she was doing when she did what she did it became clear that she couldn't speak about her patients in any meaningful way whatsoever and that the effect of her care was a complete mystery to her.

    She grew angry and forcefully told me that the doctors loved to send her patients because she was so good at helping them. Evidently she was very popular and successful according to others but it was obvious she didn't feel that way when looking in the mirror.

    In the face of such cognitive dissonance growing numb is a common strategy.

    I showed her how to perform "magic" but made no promises about its effect on her clinical life because that is something I never do. I know she remained very unhappy about this.

    If promises of success from me is what's required I'm in a fix because I won't do that. At least very soon I'll have published research by Luke and Jason to point to.

    I doubt that this will make the impact it's supposed to. It appears from what I've seen this past couple of years that a study justifying a "clinical prediction rule" might work. Anybody want to do one?

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  • bernard
    replied
    Originally posted by EricM
    for instance, a particular method which fails to produce a desired effect in a predictable way.
    Eric,

    I think that most of us will blame the patient himself. It is a very common and "safe" behaviour.

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  • EricM
    replied
    The sentence that catches my eye was "Events that violate expectations, both unpleasant disruptions and pleasant surprises, can become opportunities for unlearning." I think that there are many examples of unpleasant disruptions in most of our practices, for instance, a particular method which fails to produce a desired effect in a predictable way. At least this should be an unpleasant disruption to most. I wonder if many perceive this occurrence to be just par for the course and have become somewhat numb to failure.

    eric

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  • Diane
    replied
    This was my favorite line of the whole excerpt provided by Eric:
    The most common problem is not to prove that one set of beliefs is wrong but to reconcile apparent contradictions by showing that they are not contradictions at all. These efforts can lead everyone to new conceptualizations. They can also produce some strange inversions.
    I wonder how we could do that?

    Leave a comment:


  • nari
    replied
    I think the last paragraph of your post, Eric, is most enlightening.
    Perhaps people just cannot 'connect' with a stranger whose thoughts and pedagogy are 'outside' the norm paradigm despite evidence that those thoughts are logical and science-based.
    It is the onshore/offshore analogy. It is probably why programmed pitstopped bus tours with everything done for you, are more popular than a trip where you have to work out what needs to be done or observed.....


    Nari

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  • EricM
    replied
    On a whim I googled 'unlearning' after reading the word in Diane's last post; as usual Google did not disappoint. I found a good essay which highlights many of the concepts made here and in other past threads called Unlearning Ineffective or Obsolete Technologies.

    Some of the highlights:

    "Often, before they can learn something new, people have to unlearn what they think they already know. That is, they may have to discover that they should no longer rely on their current beliefs and methods."

    "..the essential requirement for unlearning is doubt, any event or message that engenders doubt about current beliefs and methods can become a stimulus for unlearning."

    "Dissatisfaction is probably the most common reason for doubting current beliefs and methods. But dissatisfaction can take a very long time produce results."

    "People who see themselves as experimenting are willing to deviate temporarily from practices they consider optimal in order to test their assumptions. When they deviate, they create opportunities to surprise themselves."

    "Events that violate expectations, both unpleasant disruptions and pleasant surprises, can become opportunities for unlearning."

    "Beliefs held by qualified observers nearly always have foundations in some sort of truth. The most common problem is not to prove that one set of beliefs is wrong but to reconcile apparent contradictions by showing that they are not contradictions at all. These efforts can lead everyone to new conceptualizations. They can also produce some strange inversions."

    "It is usually easier to respect the views of collaborators than those of strangers. Unfamiliar with current methods and unacquainted with recent efforts, strangers are likely to make suggestions that seem naïve or ignorant or foolish. Yet, new people often introduce new perspectives. Although the newcomers may be less expert than their predecessors, they are also free of some expectations that their predecessors took for granted. Thus, strangers may be able to see peculiarities that the indoctrinated cannot see or they may be able to offer breakthrough suggestions. Indeed, "reengineering" seems to be designed to exploit this principle."

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  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    Chris,

    I'm right there with you. I wonder how much I'm going to aggravate your coworkers when I'm in Seattle in two weeks? As always, I'll do my best.

    You can't go wrong quoting Ramanchandran, and the "neglect" he refers to might also describe how our profession has treated neuroscience when it comes to understanding pain.

    As often happens, a post here will remind me of something I'd previously written. This showed up in One Hand Clapping - Physical Therapy in the 21st Century written several years ago. Here I quote the poet David Whyte, another person you can't go wrong with.

    Think of Whyte’s original contention that individuality begins at the point of engagement, at that moment when we meet another to whom we can relate and create something together. He speaks of his experience as a guide in the Galapagos Islands years ago, of how the animals seemed not to have read any of the books about their behavior that he had, and how it took months of quiet observation on his part before the islands revealed themselves to him “on their own terms.”

    I imagine that any clinician would relate to this. At least, I do. As I think back over my long career, it seems obvious now that my patients often behaved in ways that I never anticipated, having only read about what they were supposed to do. And I’ve spent a lot of time quietly waiting for them to reveal ways of understanding their problems. I found that this happens in its own time, and that my attention and presence is all that is required. No less than that, though.

    This brings me to my last point-that if our practice does not commonly include our actual presence; it will resemble the “one hand clapping”, in fact, the feeling of exile and frustration that the image evokes.

    This cuts both ways. The patient arriving for care who can find nothing other than a machine to grasp (or a piece of paper with an exercise protocol), according to Whyte, will not become the individual they seek to be. This only happens when something with which we can truly relate meets us. In the case of therapy, that would ideally include actually being touched. This is something that happens less frequently in our profession every day.


    I understand that your colleagues are both present and manually involved with their patient's care so maybe they're ready to hear what I have to say and see what I can show them. Maybe they're ready for the ectodermal (magical) perspective.

    Maybe not.

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  • christophb
    replied
    Barrett,

    I agree about changing the packaging of the profession. But I seriously doubt it's going to happen any time soon. The "biomechanical approach" is too engrained in the minds of PT's and its shoved down the throats of the new grads. I do not see any PT that I work with questioning the theory about why they do what they do. Perhaps it's because they feel that they do not have to and they have found a way of working that is adequate and gets the job done. The learning that is taken up is to reinforce the current theory, learn new and better techniques, find more problems to work on... I find it kind of boring, but whatever. It's common to find people asking how, but rare to meet someone in our profession trying to find out why. I just got around to reading Ramachandran’s Phantoms in the Brain and I can't stop thinking about the chapter on neglect "the sound of one hand clapping". Perhaps that is what our profession is suffering from. We have learned what is comfortable or what has kind of worked and have made peace with it (to fit in, get paid, etc).

    Ramachandran states
    At any given moment of our waking lives, our brains are flooded with a bewildering array of sensory inputs, all of which must be incorporated in to a coherent perspective that's based on what stored memories already tell us is true about ourselves and our world. In order to generate coherent actions, the brain must have some way of sifting through this superabundance of detail and ordering it into a stable and internally consistent "belief system" - a story that makes sense of available evidence. Each time a new item of information come in we fold it seamlessly into our preexisting worldview. I suggest that this is mainly done by the left hemisphere.
    He goes on to suggest that when something comes along that does not fit into the story you either re-write the script, fit it in to the preexisting plot or ignore it.

    It doesn't take much work to actually do simple contact... to re-write the script is another story.


    Chris

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  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    Diane,

    I agree entirely and now introduce my students to the concept of allostasis when I speak of adaptive potential. I point them toward the thread you began some time ago. Has anybody followed up?

    With your post we've come full circle to the Repackaging Simple Contact thread begun here just over a year ago.

    Maybe we need to repackage the profession, not the newest information and available method within it.

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  • Diane
    replied
    I've been thinking about this thread, even though I haven't been adding to it. Learning something new, even if it's "easy", adds to allostatic load on the students. Perhaps especially if there's a suggestion that everything they've been doing is wrong or muddled. (I'm not saying it's not, I'm just saying that it may add to the overall allostatic load if that is pointed out directly.) There will be unlearning to do as well, a lot probably.
    Do you think therefore that part of a solution to the overall problem might be an issue of framing the information differently?

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  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    Impulse buy

    This morning I thought a bit more about the nature of my work and teaching as it has evolved over the past 35 years. I want to use the “stress ball” analogy I’ve mentioned in the past, most recently here.

    Aside from its useless nature, a stress ball is most commonly an impulse buy. The marketers stack them by the checkout counter, shape them pleasingly, color them brightly and price them cheaply. They give the buyer free access to play with them and experience in a tactile and visual way their seemingly magical ability to both lose and regain their original shape. This isn’t some sort of moldable and passive clay in your hand; it seems to have a life of its own. We buy it for all of these reasons, take it home and then never play with it again. It wouldn’t be uncommon for many to hide this impulse buy from others once we realize how wasteful it was.

    For the vast majority of therapists my lectures and method have all the same qualities or seem to gain them rapidly once they are placed beside the realities of modern practice, institutionalized documentation and financial expediency.

    At least, as far as I can tell.

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  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    I like this "off shore" analogy more and more as we write of it. The solid ground of the island most therapists would prefer to remain upon is akin to the “concrete” nature of mesodermal thinking and dysfunction. It is a place where predictable reactions to time, position and metabolic economy are seen and where imaging has a reliable and valid place. On that island patients hurt where and when they’re supposed to.

    But most of this world is water, and if we refuse to learn how to navigate it we will never venture far into it without undue fear and superstition. Figuring out the way of the ocean reliably took some time but it was well done centuries ago by people who had little to go on but their own observational skills, experience and intuition. Those with special knowledge often kept it to themselves in order to maintain their position of power and I’m certain that this advanced technology appeared “magical” to an ordinary seaman. (see the Arthur C. Clarke quote at the top of this thread)

    I’m reminded of an essay I wrote a few years ago after seeing the movie Cast Away. To me, this is the story of a man in physical pain who finds himself out to sea and alone. He rescues himself with creative acts, and there’s a good deal of magical behavior involved.

    Years ago I wrote this in a journal I keep in a corner of my office: The moment I want to nurture lies between the question and the creation. The question is: What do you want to do? And the patient’s response is a creative act.

    I meet the patient at sea and make no effort to tow them toward shore. Instead, I float along with them as their strategy for a return toward dry land emerges. I think that this is a job for their intuition and instinct, and wonderful literature supports that theory.

    Unfortunately, no one reads the literature. No wonder this meme remains so unsuccessful and appears so mysterious.

    Today, I'm not certain how to overcome this.
    Last edited by Barrett Dorko; 25-01-2007, 02:50 PM.

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  • nari
    replied
    Neurological problems are definitely far from shore in comparison with mesodermal issues. This is why there is a plethora of orthopaedic-mesodermally inclined PTs.
    It doesn't seem to matter much whether we think about the free system or private; but I dare to say that in the free public system the drive is to keep seeing patients for as short a time as possible. Not so much in the private...:thumbs_do

    Of course, no-one has managers who are keeping an eye on pursestrings; what an individual therapist chooses to do with a patient and how long they choose to do it for is entirely up to him/her. Privately, the patient can call it quits if they can't afford any more sessions; the PT calls it quits if no changes are occuring. Or they should do so.
    A meme that means patients get better faster and stay better much longer is probably everyone's theoretical mission. Unfortunately the means to this outcome lies away from the mainstream mesodermal focus. And that is dangerous territory for some.....or so it seems.
    Therapists want magic - but they are scared of being labelled offshoreists. (A neologism, but I like it)

    Nari

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  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    Let’s go back to the issue of fecundity. Cory’s link to the newspaper article was perfectly appropriate because it demonstrates a problem with any successful meme any therapist might propose – financial disaster for those who have come to depend upon our prolonged and (possibly) incompetent care to generate all kinds of money related specifically to repeated visits for chronic pain.

    This is not rocket science, and I defy anybody to explain to me why any manager would welcome a real reduction in visits simply because it helps patients get better and stay better more rapidly.

    In the case of my method for the abnormal neurodynamic there’s also this: a distinct reduction in time spent doing all sorts of testing. I’ve written about this in The End of Evaluation? and discussed in depth in the Five Questions thread.

    If I'm right, my meme spawns decreased attendance to therapy and an elimination of many dearly held notions of evaluation, thus it is very unlikely to endure or be passed along with any real fidelity.

    Therapists want magic but when you give it to them they can’t use it.

    Ironic, huh?
    Last edited by Barrett Dorko; 26-01-2007, 05:00 PM.

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