Various approaches to therapy will come and go, but the need for motivation will always remain. Patients or clients need incentive in order to achieve their goals, whether these goals are their own, their families’, or the clinician. From a clinician’s point of view, goals need to be created that will help their patient’s attain the highest quality of life. So what is the #1 question all patients should be asked?
What do you enjoy doing and what physical requirements does your body need to have?
Once you have this information, you can create an individualized plan to help them reach their goals. But how will you motivate them? This is when you need to find out what pushes your patient to do well and what kind of reinforcements they prefer. Aside from your patient’s health status, choosing the best motivational approach is what indicates the need for personalized therapy.
Some patients may only require general reinforcement as motivation, such as:
· verbal praise
· healthy treats or sweet treats
· small rewards for reaching milestones or completing goals
· quantitative data for those patients that prefer to see their numeric values change
However, I believe the biggest motivator to be visual change. Is your patient able to actually see progress towards doing what they enjoy? Whether it is performing your therapy session in front of a mirror, keeping photographic record, or video recording them, this approach allows patients to see the improvements being made and spark the desire to continue on. Clinicians should consider this motivational approach because most patients will respond positively towards their visual transformation.
Find what motivates your patient, client, or anyone for that matter and utilize that approach.
-Patrick Berner, SPT