I recently heard Lori Gottlieb, a psychotherapist and author, discuss the importance of being vulnerable and accountable as a patient in her line of work. The interview can be heard here https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-tim-ferriss-show/id863897795?i=1000468899545 on The Tim Ferriss Show.
I couldn’t help but apply this to physical therapy as well. Essentially, being vulnerable means that the patient has overcome fears or reluctance to seek out help. Some people avoid treatment because they do not want to be confronted with bad news. Some people avoid treatment because they do not want to feel judged by another person. There are a number of reasons why a person would not want to be vulnerable enough to start physical therapy.
For those people who have not let vulnerability get in their way and made the jump to starting physical therapy, the next hurdle is accountability. Being accountable means taking what you have been instructed or educated on and applying it to your life. For some people, showing up will feel like enough. They got over their initial fear of being vulnerable but didn’t factor in the need for being accountable. Some examples would be to not implement recommendations by a PT for in between sessions of therapy. These people will do the exercises that they have been given while with a PT but not complete their homework on their own time. People can avoid doing their home exercises or not implement the changes recommended by a PT but at some point they have to acknowledge that they are no longer being accountable in their own treatment.
Together, being truly vulnerable and accountable makes a person well-suited for physical therapy. At best, they are likely to get a positive outcome from treatment. At worst, they will at least find out that physical therapy is not effective for them at this time but are guaranteed to come away from the experience better able to tackle future hurdles. In either case, they have helped themselves by giving physical therapy a fair chance.