The patient’s active participation in treatment and rehabilitation represents a cultural change in clinical practice as well as a major change in physiotherapist and patient roles. This article presents findings from a study aimed at gaining a better understanding of how physiotherapists in actual practice understand their interactions with patients during the treatment process. This article reports on the findings from focus-group interviews with physiotherapists working in three different settings. Analyses of the interview data identified three modes of physiotherapy practice. In one, physiotherapists educate their patients to be self-managing in conducting exercise programs based on sound evidence. Educational films available on the Internet are included in these efforts to teach patients. In another, physiotherapists emphasize the importance of a close relationship to the patient. A good personal chemistry is believed to improve the treatment process. And finally, what physiotherapists learn about the living conditions and the biographies of their patients was shown to be very important. Understanding the importance of the life-world and taking this into consideration in the treatment process were factors considered to be central to good practice.
The article concludes with a discussion linking these findings to those of other studies identifying those factors contributing to our knowledge of what is involved in biopsychosocial practice in physiotherapy.