University of Oulu

Riikka Holopainen, Arja Piirainen, Jaro Karppinen, Steven James Linton & Peter O’Sullivan (2022) An adventurous learning journey. Physiotherapists’ conceptions of learning and integrating cognitive functional therapy into clinical practice, Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 38:2, 309-326, DOI: 10.1080/09593985.2020.1753271

An adventurous learning journey : physiotherapists’ conceptions of learning and integrating cognitive functional therapy into clinical practice

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Author: Holopainen, Riikka1; Piirainen, Arja1; Karppinen, Jaro2,3;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyvaskyla, Finland
2Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
3Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Oulu, Finland
4Center for Health and Medical Psychology, School of Law, Psychology, and Social Work, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden
5School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, Australia
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2022
Publish Date: 2021-04-27


Background: Recent low back pain guidelines recommend a BPS approach to the management of disabling low back pain. However, the most effective way of teaching physiotherapists to implement these approaches remains unknown. The present qualitative study aimed to explore physiotherapists’ conceptions of learning and integrating Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT) into clinical practice in Finnish primary health care.

Methods: We interviewed 22 physiotherapists, who participated in four to six days of CFT workshops. A phenomenographic approach was used to explore the variation in the physiotherapists’ conceptions of this process.

Results: Four themes emerged from the data: 1) membership of work community; 2) learning journey; 3) transition to new working methods; and 4) professional role as a physiotherapist. These themes varied in four categories of description: recognizing difference of the new approach, toward integrating the new approach, waking up to explore, commitment to new approach and expanding application of new approach. The critical aspects between the categories that enabled the integration of CFT into clinical practice were ability to overcome resistance and to change views, being shaken and ability to critically reflect on one’s work, support from the work community and becoming convinced, creativity, multidisciplinary collaboration and continuous learning.

Conclusion: The participants’ responses to the training varied greatly, suggesting that for some, the training was insufficient to support adequate changes in their practice behavior; whereas for others, the training was a life changing experience.

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Series: Physiotherapy theory and practice
ISSN: 0959-3985
ISSN-E: 1532-5040
ISSN-L: 0959-3985
Volume: 38
Issue: 2
Pages: 309 - 326
DOI: 10.1080/09593985.2020.1753271
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
Funding: This work was supported by Signe & Ane Gyllenberg foundation.
Copyright information: © 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Physiotherapy Theory and Practice on 27 Apr 2020, available online: