How-Tos, Our research

How to get patients moving

Behaviour change techniques for physiotherapists

Early Career Researcher, Dr Brea Kunstler (far right in photo opposite), is one of two physiotherapists employed by BehaviourWorks Australia. While supporting the BWA team with literature reviews, interviews and other research, Brea continues to pursue her passion for using behaviour change techniques to promote physical activity, recently publishing two important papers in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport on using these techniques to promote physical activity to people with musculoskeletal conditions.

Brea also recently travelled to Geneva, Switzerland, to attend and present at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)’s 2019 Congress with other highly regarded international physical activity and behaviour change researchers.

Given that WCPT is the sole international voice for physical therapy (or physiotherapy, as we call it in Australia), representing more than 450,000 physical therapists worldwide, the congress attracted thousands of attendees and hundreds of speakers.

In comparison to previous events, this congress saw a large focus on behaviour change, which Brea says, “is new for the physiotherapy profession and indicates a change in direction for the profession from using our hands to using our heads”.

With presenters from Australia, Uganda and the UK, Brea presented a focused symposium on ways that physiotherapists can use behavioural insights to encourage people to lead more active lifestyles. The session attracted a lot of positive attention, including this article on the WCPT website.

Brea has also recently written a great “explainer” for the Australian Physiotherapy Association’s InTouch Magazine, which caters to, and provides features on, physical activity clinical advances and research

Entitled, “Transforming a Patent’s Actions”, the story (PDF) provides an overview of how behaviour change techniques can be used by physiotherapists, in a really practical way, to create physically active patients. 
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