Arvinen-Barrow, M., Hemmings, B., Penny, G. N. and Corr, S. (2010) UK Chartered physiotherapists' personal experiences in using psychological interventions with injured athletes: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Psychology of Sport and Exercise.11(1), pp. 58-66. 1469-0292.
Arvinen-Barrow, M., Hemmings, B., Penny, G. N. and Corr, S.
Objectives Despite the gradual growth of psychology of injury literature, thus far few studies have investigated physiotherapists' personal experiences in using psychology in their work. Therefore the purpose of this study was to explore the physiotherapists' personal experiences in using psychological intervention techniques as part of sport injury rehabilitation. Design This study adopted a qualitative approach when exploring chartered physiotherapists' personal experiences in using psychological intervention methods in their work with injured athletes. Semi-structured interview schedule was devised and the data obtained was analyzed by using the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA; Smith (1996)). Methods Seven (4 female, 3 male) physiotherapists working in sports medicine in the United Kingdom participated in the interviews. Results Following the IPA analysis, the physiotherapists in this study were very open about their lack of formal training in sport psychology, and appeared to be knowledgeable and comfortable in using goal setting and encouraging social support. Familiarity with, and experiences of using other techniques (i.e., imagery, relaxation, and self-talk) seemed to be less apparent. The physiotherapists also stressed the importance of ‘gut-feeling’ and experiential knowledge. Conclusions The study provides a valuable insight into physiotherapists' real-life experiences in using psychological interventions. Based on the findings, it can be recommended that further training on a range of psychological techniques would be useful.