The aim of this study was to systematically review and analyze the literature exploring the knowledge, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs of physiotherapists towards the use of psychological interventions in their practice.
A systematic search was conducted, of articles published between January 1996 and February 2016, using selected electronic databases followed by crosschecking of reference and citation lists. Articles were selected on the basis of the research reported relating to knowledge, behaviors, attitudes or beliefs of physiotherapists towards using a number of different psychological interventions. Quality assessment was conducted by three reviewers independently, and thematic analysis of the included studies was performed.
Fifteen studies were included in the analysis. Results indicate that physiotherapists are aware of psychological interventions, are using a variety within practice, and have positive attitudes and beliefs towards their use. However, there are barriers to the incorporation of psychological interventions into their practice, including lack of knowledge, time constraints, and role clarity. The desire for further training was also evident.
Notwithstanding the reported awareness and use of psychological interventions in physiotherapy practice, barriers to implementation exist indicating that further research is necessary to address how to effectively equip physiotherapists, to employ such techniques within their scope of practice. Implications for rehabilitation Physiotherapists use and have positive attitudes and beliefs towards a variety of psychological interventions including goal setting, positive, and motivational talk, cognitive behavioral therapy strategies and offering social support. Barriers preventing the incorporation of psychological interventions in practice include, lack of knowledge, time constraints, and role clarity. Despite the use of such interventions, physiotherapists identify the need for further training, to be better equipped to confidently utilize these in practice. These results justify the incorporation of training in psychological interventions in physiotherapist qualifying studies, but also as continued professional development opportunities for physiotherapists currently working in the field.