Welcome back to the Healing Pain Podcast with Dr. Will Boyd
Physical therapists change people’s lives like they are working a miracle. But before they get to this point, PTs need to go to school and devote time to learn the practice. Most PT schools have a B Average environment of students which is helpful for some by way of academic excellence. However this also creates anxiety and depression for some students who are asking if they are really cut out for the job. Dr. Will Boyd, DPT understands this hierarchy system is a part of the rigorous component that will demonstrate competency at satisfactory levels, but this can lead to dehumanizing the students and make them think they are just there to get high scores in the exams. One way to solve this is to create a community between faculty and students and empowering physical therapy students to let them do what they want. Learn how Dr. Boyd was able to deal with his depression and anxiety and what he envisions the future of PT schools should be.
In this episode, we are diving into the important topic of depression and anxiety. If you’re someone with chronic pain, this is an important topic, and one you may be struggling with currently or one you may have had to work through in the past on your way to healing. The reason I’m so excited about this podcast, as well as my guests, is because anxiety and depression can be a tremendous challenge for us health care practitioners as well. Even with all we know, we too can succumb to health problems that affect us both physically as well as emotionally. We are only human and life comes with its many challenges and a bit of suffering no matter who you are. The reason why I love this topic is because I struggled with anxiety when I was going through physical therapy school. I talked about this a little bit in my book, Heal Your Pain Now, as possibly being the cause of my chronic lower back pain when I was in college. At the time, I was unsure exactly what was going on.
More importantly, as I look back now 25 years later, there wasn’t a strong support system for us, physical therapy students, going through school. I believe that’s still a problem today. It’s not only a problem that exists in physical therapy school but many of the other health professions like psychology or medicine. We’re all too busy learning about how to help people and less focused on the fact that we have to be healthy too both in body and mind for us to effectively care for patients. I firmly believe that if you’re going to help people with chronic pain, you have to have the tools, the knowledge, and the strategies to help build your resiliency before you’re ready to take on the world of chronic pain. In typical Dr. Joe fashion, I’ve created a great freebie to help support you around this topic and to accompany this episode. I wish I had this when I was working through my anxiety. It might help you cope with your pain, your anxiety and some of your sadness and depression which often begins with life’s daily stresses. I’m calling this my Simple Strategies for Stress Reduction. To grab the freebie, all you have to do is go to www. DrJoeTatta.com/73Download or you can pick up your phone and text the word 73download to the number 44-222. Without further ado, let’s begin our show.
Empowering Physical Therapy Students with Will Boyd, DPT
Will, thanks for joining me on the podcast. I’m excited to talk to you about this important topic.
Thanks for having me, Joe. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to be on the podcast with you.
When you and I started talking about this topic, it starts to bring me back to my days before I got into PT school and what PT school was like. I started, in my mind, thinking back to the things that no one ever shared with me, the ways I was never prepared for PT school. I thought it was important not only that I get people understand it from my perspective but I want to bring on a guest who’s been through it as well. You are a licensed DPT and you’ve been through this on your own. Can you tell us a little bit of your story on how you’ve struggled with anxiety and depression throughout PT school and either maybe before?
It started probably a lot longer than I was willing to admit, probably even in my teens, if not younger. I had this obsessive compulsive style of thinking. Not in the way that we might associate with someone who has to constantly clean things or flip knobs a certain amount of times but very simple things. I remember one time when I was a very young guy, maybe twelve or thirteen, I had to go to the bathroom at a baseball game and I had a urinary tract infection I didn’t know at the time. My family got really upset at me that I had to go to the bathroom so often. I’d never even thought about going to the bathroom in my life beyond just having to go to the bathroom. I remember specifically in that moment, it affected my thinking and my stress level so much to the point that in middle school I didn’t even play. I only played organized soccer because I loved soccer. All other sports that I was good enough to play at, I didn’t because I was afraid I’d have to go to the bathroom while I was on the bus and I would upset my coaches and teammates.
That’s when I started to notice like, “Clearly, that’s probably not a normal thinking pattern.” That started to make me more aware of, “Maybe there is something here.” I didn’t know a lot about it but as I got older I started to recognize I’m having anxiety, having these symptoms of depression. I started asking my family, “Have we ever had anything like this?” It turns out my mom, my brother, my grandmother and so on have had a long string of mental health difficulties. It’s not necessarily a definer but challenges. That’s when it started. I started PT school when I was 27. At that point, I’d been fully aware that I had anxiety. I knew that I dealt with these periods of high anxiety as well as symptoms of depression from time to time. Going in, I was very well aware that these were things that I struggled with.
When I think back to PT school, the class I was in, there were probably only about 30 students. By the end of the program, they only had probably about 26. It was quite a small program. Probably about half of my class were students like yourself who was going through school later, didn’t quite go right directly from high school into undergrad and right into PT school. They were second-career students and some of them even in their 40s and 50s. Did going back as an “older student” help ease the anxiety and depression or did it add to the anxiety and depression?
It worked both ways. In terms of the workload, it definitely ramped up the anxiety. I had been out of the school studying pattern, so for me that was a jump back into, “What do you mean I have these 200 pages to read in the next two days?” It’s not free reading of fiction books, this is dense material. That was a wakeup call that definitely ramped up anxiety. I hadn’t been taking tests on a regular basis which is a performance-related type of anxiety. That definitely ramped up my overall level of tension of stress. On the other hand, going back as an older student, I had a much better perspective of what grades meant and their relative importance which no one’s ever asked me for my GPA or a grade since I’ve been out of school. No one seems to be fazed by it. So that’s good. That was one way that it helped me and I could help my fellow classmates who might have been maybe so ingrained in the constant need to meet expectations of grades and what other external sources would look at as doing well or satisfactory. That was easier and that I could see the bigger picture a little bit. At 27, you definitely don’t have a great idea of the big picture in life still but a little bit more of I’d worked and known that, “There’s more to life than a letter on your test.” That helps. It was definitely both. It helped and definitely still raised anxiety depending on the circumstance.
Most PT schools want you to maintain a B average at a minimum. I wonder if that helps students or if it creates undue anxiety. The truth is you never know what the outcome of every test is going to be. It’s so interesting to me that as you go into PT school, most of us have to have a certain amount of certain GPA to get into school. It’s very competitive. Where I applied to PT school, there were 1,000 applicants for 30 seats. It was very competitive. When I look back, I can’t remember failing too many tests in my life but it didn’t change my level of anxiety going into tests in PT school. On the one hand, you’re so thankful and you’re so excited that you’ve been accepted. You have this amazing career that’s in demand ahead of you. On the other side, if I don’t maintain this GPA, I feel like someone can pull the rug out from under me. Then what do I do? When I’m 24, 27, 45 years old, what happens?
Probably the hardest thing for me to watch from afar was I had so many classmates who had never failed anything in life, whether that was a relationship or a test or even just running a race. So many of these people that get into PT school are these Type A wonderful people who are very competitive and have such high expectations. When you get put in an environment where everyone’s like that, it’s pretty impossible for every single person out of 30 people to be the best. It doesn’t logically make sense that all 30 people can be number one and tie for number one. A lot of people go into this identity crisis in a way which creates this anxiety of, “Am I am as good as I thought I was? Am I even cut out for this?” You were one of 30 out of 1,000 to get picked. Clearly, there’s something about you. It’s not that you’re not the best. It’s something that is hard to work through especially when you’re young. I don’t think it changes in your life and make it easier. It’s still something that we deal with no matter how old you are. It takes a lot of self-reflection and self-understanding to hone that and get through that.
The B average thing creates an environment of anxiety. I don’t understand completely why we create that environment. I understand that rigorous component of demonstrating satisfactory levels of competency. However, I do think that in the program that I was in, the programs that other people have talked about is there’s this real sense of hierarchy that you need to be good enough. That it almost dehumanizes you. You become scores instead of people, which is frustrating. I wish there was a more loving environment from PT schools in the sense that, “The best PTs are the ones who communicate with people. We don’t ever grade you on communication. We grade you on, ‘Did you choose A, B, C or D correctly?’” which is great. We have to have some form of standardization, but it is interesting to me that a lot of the best PTs that I’ve met have all told me they were not A-plus students. They got by, they figured out what they needed to do but they saw the bigger picture that a real PT is something besides answering questions on a piece of paper.
I want to come back to some of the things you said. Some of the things there are key. You said something in the beginning. What you’re talking about is this almost authoritarian approach or hierarchy that happens in PT school, depending on where you go to PT school. I went to State University of New York which is the Health Science Center. Not only was I exposed to the entire PT faculty but then there is this hierarchy of medical doctors that came in and taught a class here and there. There are PhD-level trained physiologists that came in and taught things. You’re exposed to all these different degrees. Everyone’s got big initials after their names. When you look back on your experience, what could have your program, for instance, have on the first three months to help students integrate into specifically PT academic life in a way that’s healthier for them?
I’m trying to put myself back in in that situation. In the beginning, I remember being so excited to meet the faculty. Mine was different. I’d gone to a new university for grad school and seeing all these people with the letters after their names for me like, “I can’t wait to learn from them. They must know all of these things.” Looking back as we get older, we realize letters don’t indicate a level of intelligence or competency. To me, they are letters of hard work. You’re willing to dedicate time to learn and study and pass a test. I’ve met plenty of people with no letters behind their names that I would definitely love to be treated by them over someone with the fourteen or sixteen letters after their name. I wish there was a way to create community between faculty and students because you’re getting these groups of 30 to 60, however many students, that are motivated and intelligent. You don’t get there by just sitting around and hoping that someone lets you in. I wish there would be a way to create a community whether that’s maybe in the first three months, a five-to-one half an hour weekly meeting where it’s a little focus group of, “I’m here to help you throughout this process.” People are supposed to have advisers but I feel like advisers are more of a check-in, “Let me make sure you’re not doing anything bad or your grade’s good enough.” That’s a stress in itself. Anytime someone says you’re going to go meet with your adviser, you’re like, “Is that good or bad? I’m nervous.” Whereas instead of creating a group where it’s, “What are you interested? What do you want to know? You are the future. You have the potential to elevate this program, to elevate our community. What can we do to help you? Who here has an interest in an advocacy? Who wants to go to national conferences? Who wants to do these things? Who wants to be in research? How can I be here to help you and empower students?” Instead of make students feel like they’re in this constant Big Brother state of, “Am I good enough? Am I going to live up to expectations?” We see that with patients that we work with people. We get better outcomes when we empower people versus, “Are you doing your home exercises? You’re not? It’s your fault that you’re the reason you’re not getting better.” Very few people respond well to that. More people respond to, “What can I do to help you feel more empowered and help you do this?” That’s one example. Schools could get creative and figure out, “How do we empower our students to do what they want to do?” You’re looking at the future. These are bright people who are in here. Sadly, we lose a lot of them because they feel constrained in the system saying, “I’m just a collection of answers on tests.”
There’s definitely a rigidity of PT schools that, to this day, I don’t think we have broken. Some programs now have more problem-based learning which has helped. My program definitely did not. It was almost 100% didactic other than the actual mobilization classes and palpation classes and things like that, which even those can be anxiety-provoking. You’re pretty much naked in front of 30 people for the first time who don’t know you and they’re touching you all over your body. At the age of 24, that can be a challenging time for some people. At PT school, by the end of it, did you feel your confidence was boosted because you were able to negotiate three years of coursework and all the exams and all the pressure? Did you feel you had achieved something at the end? I remember a lot of students in my program feeling broke. They were so happy to graduate just to figure out how they could do something to almost rehabilitate themselves before they start the next phase in their life.
Most of my classmates felt the same way. We had been so constrained by the environment. We weren’t learning. We weren’t being empowered. I don’t know if that’s a fault of our program. It’s in general. Now hosting a podcast myself and talking with students, there’s a whole underlying thing too as well as to dive into which is we’re faced with tremendous amounts of student loan debt, which is weighing on people as well. People are coming out with these stressors that they don’t have a game plan of how to combat them. You’re so happy to be done with this rigorous academic program. You’re in debt. You want to make money right away to help pay that back. You want to help people. You want to get better at your profession. Most people in my class were broken. A lot of us are still pretty broken from it even now that we’re working. You go into this transition where you learn all about these great things, and then you get into the real world and you realize most people don’t do the things that are taught in textbooks. When you’re dealing with human beings, the game changes. You’re almost having to go back and say, “Everything that I learned, I need to rethink. I spent three years learning all these things.”
Luckily, we do have clinical rotations in between. If you’re lucky, we have instructors that can expose you to that in your career early on. Now you’re entering into a world where people are doing things that you’re like, “What are you doing? I’ve never even seen this before.” They’re like, “This is how you get people better.” “I had spent three years reading thousands of pages to try to learn how to make people better and you don’t do any of that?” They’re like, “That’s outdated in how we do things in the real world.” There’s a huge identity shock at the end of, “Who am I? What do I do?” The reality is for a lot of students, this is their first job in life. This is their first real full-time job. That’s a major stressor for wherever you come out of. I wish we could find a way to help empower our students to make them feel like they have a game plan. Schools have become so focused on their number one mission, which is for you to pass a board exam which is great. I also think personally that if you’re intelligent enough to get into PT school, you’ve proven you can work hard and you can study, I would bet if you could give students the study book for the NPTE exam and said, “You’ve got four months and we’re going to quiz you every two weeks on different sections,” I bet the pass rate would still be above 70% to 80% because these kids are motivated, they’re dedicated. What are we serving our students if they could do that on their own? I know that could be debate. There’s no RCT for that but that’s my opinion.
Our profession has a lot of initials after our names. After a while, I could probably study the book and pass the test but not have it mean any significant clinical carry over. When I think of PT school, I want to talk about some of the lifestyle factors that we see in our patients that probably happened or still exist in ourselves that started in PT school. What lifestyle factor do you think affected you the most?
By far and away, exercise for me was the number one lifestyle factor. I’ve always made it a priority to exercise. I can remember times when you get stressed and you have so many things going on and you have these assignments to do that you push back exercise maybe two days longer than you normally would, it would hit me hard. It blows my mind that we’re in this practice of teaching people the value of movement and exercise and the benefits of it, at least I hope we are. There’s still a very big school who’ve thought that we’re pain relievers but we also have this duty to explain and express the importance of exercise. It’s crazy that we take our 22 to however-old-students and say, “You’re going to sit for six to eight hours a day and you’re going to stare at a computer screen,” which is exactly what we tell our patients not to do who have these musculoskeletal posture-based, pain-related dysfunctions. That always blew my mind. I always thought we should have running breaks during PT school. We should be practicing what we’re preaching. That was the number one lifestyle factor. It’s a real thing and it could be avoided.
Alcohol is still a major factor when you’re that age. There’s still a very big community, a lot of students are coming from their senior year of college which, regardless if you want to believe it or not, there’s still a major drinking culture going on that still carries over into graduate school. For me, being older helped that that phase of my life had ended. Not that it was ever a massive part, but it had ended. I could see for a lot of my classmates who were younger that that was something they had to balance. Maybe I can’t go out two nights on a weekend or sometimes we’d have a Friday off and have to make that decision on a Thursday. When you’re 21, you can do it. You can still do it when you’re 23 but there might be bigger consequences in terms of your workload and things like that. Those are the two of the more major realistic lifestyle factors.
For me when I look back, there is major sleep deprivation. When I think back to PT school, I don’t know how I survive because probably easily five nights out of the seven of the week, I probably slept five hours or sometimes less. I went to SUNY Downstate and it was a tough program. You basically did a lot of your coursework with medical students. Because it’s a state school and they’re looking to save money, when you take anatomy and physiology, you’re taking it with medical students. You’re learning what they’re learning. It’s awesome because it builds your confidence because you feel like you’re learning the same thing as physicians and you are. At the same time you feel like, “If I don’t negotiate this and pass this test, then it means I am less than.” Those thoughts can lead to your anxiety and depression. When I think of what it takes to work with people with chronic pain, I firmly believe the first thing you need to be is compassionate, above and beyond anything. If that patient doesn’t seem compassionate in your eyes in that relationship that you have with that patient, the relationship is bound to probably fail, which means your patient outcomes are not going to be very good. Does the competitiveness of PT school counterproductive to developing compassionate professionals that can now work with patients on that level?
There’s probably not a definitive answer to, but I can see where it might be counterproductive. The reality is if you’re getting into PT school, you’ve got some type of Type A personality, which means typically you have some type of ego. You’ve got to believe in yourself enough to get to where you want to go which is great. We all have some level of ego. We all have some level of humility. When you can tie the two together, it’s amazing. You look at someone like you and Jeff Moore, for example, who are able to intertwine both confidence with humility, it’s powerful. When you put 30 people around each other and say, “You need to be at the top of your game all the time,” it’s hard to look outside of that and say, “I’m actually going to be working with human beings who are struggling, when all you see around you for every day is these young healthy people who are competing to do the best that they can do.” We get out of touch with that. I don’t think we expose our students early enough. There are schools out there that do this.
It would be awesome to have patients or people who are having pain, previous patients come in, sit down in small groups and say, “Here’s what I didn’t like from my physical therapist when I saw them. They talked like this. They said things like this. The things I did like though were when they said this or how they would do this.” Now you’re 23 or however old, you’re getting into this field. You’re getting supposedly what a patient wants or what a patient would like or expect. We know that one of the major indicators of a good outcome is what a patient expects. If we can’t meet what a patient expects, we’re already fighting an uphill battle, especially something like chronic pain which you can speak to a lot more than I can with treating patients. It’s already not a straight line battle. We’re already fighting an uphill battle. Someone’s been faced with these symptoms for a long period of time. Anything you can do to reduce it from getting even steeper is powerful.
Something that I would love to see happen is more patient interaction early on. It doesn’t have to be in a formal setting, but hearing from real people outside of physical therapy, “Here was a good experience I had. Here was a bad experience I had,” not a professor who’s healthy teaching you, “Here’s what you should say. Here’s what you shouldn’t say.” I don’t want a Joe off the street teaching me about cooking. I want a chef teaching me about cooking, the one who’s doing it, the one who’s going through the experience.
I look at the competitiveness of PT school it can harden a clinician. I don’t think the average patient especially those with chronic pain want a clinician that is very regimented, is very rigid and is burnt out before they even have started their career for the most part. I’ve hired a lot of new grads in my career, and one of the two things, one, in my practice what was very successful and what I recommend every single private practice owner had is training, mentor and transitionary period if you’re hiring new grads. It is invaluable. It will make your practice better. It will make them better therapists. With that, you’re going to have better patient outcomes which should improve your practice overall. It’s not just PT, it’s every part of healthcare. I can’t imagine if I was a 55-year-old woman with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis and I go to most of these physicians who are out there. They have not had any kind of compassion and training to figure out how to approach a patient, how to talk to a patient, how to be there for a patient who needs them. I want to ask you a question from the patient perspective because you’ve lived both sides now. You’re a trained clinician and you’re still working and trying to figure out how to thrive in life with some anxiety and depression. What type of things have worked for you in your life as far as alleviating your symptoms?
Probably the biggest thing has been this process of self-understanding and trying to figure out what it is that I’m happy doing in life and what fulfills me and what gives me a peaceful state of mind. It’s not easy. It’s not something you can sit down in one day and figure out. It’s a process that takes time. For me, some things that have changed my life for the better have been one, continuing to play soccer, which is something I love and I’ve always loved. That doesn’t mean take up soccer but whatever type of physical movement, practice that you can do that you enjoy is great, especially if it involves a community, it’s even better. I’ve made so many friends through soccer. You go and you’re part of a team, you play and there’s highs and lows, you let your teammates down sometimes, sometimes you’re the hero, other times you’re playing a role and it’s great.
The other thing is about three years ago, I started listening to positive self-talk videos. I started YouTube-ing motivational videos. I would always go workout or run. I decided instead of listening to music, I was going to put on a half an hour to an hour of a motivational video hearing positive talk. A lot of us who deal with anxiety and anyone in general, even if you don’t struggle with anxiety or depression, we’re taught in society to have a very negative self-talk. We’re taught to question how good we are. Entire industries are built off questioning how good we are. We’re not pretty enough, we’re not smart enough, we’re not whatever, “Buy this product, it’ll change that for you.” An entire culture is built off of that. I’m starting to hear that because I didn’t have the power to say it to myself, to hear someone else say it for me. I did that for two years straight. Now I probably do it two to three to four times a week instead of every day. As I’ve gotten busier and more in control of my symptoms, it’s made probably as big of an impact as anything besides exercise.
I interviewed Dr. Kelly Brogan. She wrote a New York Times bestselling book called A Mind of Your Own. It’s episode number 48. It’s a pretty awesome episode. She has come out with a strong stance on medications around depression. She’s like, “These medications don’t work. They cause more harm than good. We should help people wean off them and move them to more lifestyle factors.” For someone who struggled with these types of symptoms, how would it sit with you maybe years ago in PT school versus now? How do you feel about that bold stance?
From the science standpoint, I completely agree. To me, it makes a lot of sense. We don’t have incredible evidence that SSRIs or anti-anxiety meds make much of a difference. We can’t definitively say that from the evidence that’s out there. Two times I’ve had more severe anxiety periods of time, to the point that I was fairly not living my life. I was what the old school phrase of nervous breakdown would be. Taking medication at that time helped. I still take an SSRI which is a type of anti-anxiety medication. I’ll be completely honest, I have no idea if it works or not. I know that when I started taking it, I started to feel at least some relief. That honestly could be total placebo effect that I knew that something was meant to help me. We see that a lot with something like benzodiazepines for a lot of people who have very intense panic attacks. Even having it on you, having the ability to have it often reduces a lot of attacks because you feel like there’s an outlet there.
I’ve struggled. I don’t know if it helps me or it doesn’t. I do know that the correlation of time with it has helped me. Do I believe that I don’t want to be on medication for the rest of my life? Absolutely, I’d rather not be on any medication. It’s a tough thing. The scientific brain in me says, “There is probably not good evidence that this is helping you.” On the other hand, when you’re in those states, it’s hard from someone on the outside to understand the depth that you can get into mentally, that when you’re there you’re looking for anything. It’s a dangerous time. You’re looking to relieve symptoms from some bad thoughts. I have not ever had suicidal ideation but I’ve definitely had thoughts of suicide in the past. When you’re in those states, I don’t care what it was, if you could have got me out of those states, I would have taken it. I feel like I live a healthy life. I exercise. I take care of myself. I read. I get good sleep. It’s one of those things that, as much as we would want to generalize, mental health is very deeply personal and we have to understand the root of a lot of it for people.
I love her book. I’ve read her book. She’s lots of fun to interview. There’s little evidence that these medications work. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have their place. Like you, in my head, I’m still working through that. We’re working through that with things like opioids, SSRIs, benzodiazepines, even Advil and Aleve and other NSAIDS. If PT program called you up and said, “We want to talk to you for a moment and give us two tips that we can share with our PT students to prepare them for PT school in a way that they’ll have less anxiety or depression. What would those two tips be?
Number one, if you can create an environment of fun and empowerment, one that tells students, “You’re good enough. You’re here. You’re good enough. There are still expectations but this is a place for you to grow and become the next generation of people that change our profession,” it would be powerful. It comes from the top. If I were in a program right now in a role of decision-making in policy, I would say, “These kids are smart enough to pass the board exam. If we give them three months to study this stuff, by the end of their three years, they’re going to pass this test.” There’s so much on the line anyways. Regardless, you’re going to do the work to do well. Even if you don’t pass the first time, it’s not a major thing. Most people do and there’s a big push in schools now that one of their biggest marketing points is their first time pass rate, first time you take the test, how much pass which I think is who cares? I’ve never had anyone ask me, “Do you pass on your first time or second time your third time?” I’m like, “I don’t think anyone cares.” There’s a financial side of it that could be affected but I would say that we’re here to make you the most compassionate and open-minded people that we can be. It’s like coaching. You want to develop people, not develop robots or answering machines. That’s not how life works. You get this moment to cultivate 30 young people or people who are new into this field and create an environment.
Number one is on day one, you set the tone that this is the place where you’re going to grow and develop and we’re here to support you not to challenge you. Supporting can be challenging. You can challenge someone through support not, “We’re here to oversee you.” Be consistent with that. A lot of schools might do that, but then over time they change their behavior. Number two, something that can be effective is having smaller group sessions where you are connecting with your professors. People need inspiration. That’s what we need. We need that in anywhere in life right. With the internet, I don’t need access to a library. That used to be I pay $20,000 so I could go to the one place in a 200-mile radius that had this information. I learn more from YouTube than I did from the lectures in my class. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. I’m a visual learner so I go where it’s visual and I follow it. I needed inspiration. It’s hard to teach someone to provide that but if I were to talk to the program and say, “If you can provide those two things, an empowering place and provide inspiration, you’d turn out some incredible physical therapists.”
Universities want to do this because if they have a student that goes part time or if they have a student that drops out of the program, they’re losing income. It’s obviously in their best interests to look at it and say, “Our program is awesome. We have all the evidence-based knowledge to teach students. How do we make this a process that is easy for them to negotiate and graduate as DPTs, Doctors of Physical Therapy, that are healthy and they can help other people?” You, as well as Eric and Nick, are the hosts of The Knowbodies Podcast. You can find Will, Eric and Nick at TwoKnowbodies.com. Tell me what your vision and your goal for the podcast over the next year or so. You have reached a lot of PTs as well as other practitioners and helped them out a lot in many ways.
We’re trying to make a push towards more and understanding of behavioral sciences, what we want to get into. Nick and I are taking a course on population health. We’re fascinated by, “How do we change behavior within a population in the society?” Information is great, but if someone’s not motivated or willing to change, it doesn’t have the impact that you want it to have. We’re going to be reaching out to behavioral psychologists, asking them how do we do this at a bigger scale and individually, how do we change someone’s pattern of thinking when you’re in the session with them. Ultimately, you can tell someone what to do but if they have no desire to do it, the odds of the outcome being good are slim. That’s what we’re looking at. We also want to dive into spending some time doing reaching out to the general public, teaching them what is diabetes? What is congestive heart failure? Why do people get these things? Doing some public service type of episodes as well to increase the reach so it’s not just the healthcare providers, but to help the general public understand their body more.
I really enjoyed talking to Will because his story tells you that you’re not alone, that mental illness is very common in students as well as our general population. We’re all looking for natural ways that we can combat it. Also, if a doctoral level physical therapy student could have challenges negotiating the healthcare system, then what is our health care system like for those who don’t have a degree in healthcare and entering it in with the highest hope of finding someone to help them? What I want everyone to know is that one in four students have some kind of diagnosable mental illness. 40% do not seek help or feel like they don’t have anyone to go help them. 80% are overwhelmed by the responsibilities that they have at school and university. 50% have become so anxious that they struggle throughout school to the point where it affected their physical and emotional health. Depression and anxiety are at the top of the list but there are also things like eating disorders, addiction and suicide that every student may be facing. We should develop a system support to them especially our healthcare providers that are looking forward to getting out into the world and helping other people with their chronic illness.
Don’t forget that you can download my Simple Strategies for Stress and Pain Reduction. You can grab that by going to www.DrJoeTatta.com/73Download or you text the word 73download to the number 44-222. It’s been a pleasure serving you as always on the Healing Pain Podcast. Make sure you share this out with your friends and family on iTunes and Stitcher and all social media. We’ll see you next week.
About Dr. Will Boyd
For a long time I was afraid to become the best version of myself. I hid behind insecurities, felt isolated due to my struggles with anxiety and bouts of depression, and fell into the traps of low self-esteem. While I still battle with all of the above, I have come to the realization that I have developed a skill set that has allowed me to push forward and find success in my unique little corner of this world. What were once weaknesses, I now view as strengths and want others to know that the aspects of their lives that feel overwhelming can become their strengths.
A little over 2 years ago I started a daily ritual of listening to positive mindset speeches, podcasts, and reading personal development books and blogs in an effort to learn more about myself. While I believe in the practice of Physical Therapy, which has become the focal point of my energy, truly understanding ourselves is the best of course of rehabilitation and growth I have discovered. Thank you for taking your time, the most valuable asset on Earth, to learn a little bit about me and my story.
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