With my upcoming new workshop, an Introduction to NLP, fast approaching, I’ve been thinking more about intention and truth when working with others. 

As a novice therapist all those years ago, I would often feel for those people who came in through my treatment room doors searching for someone to help them.

I was full of warmth and respect, and had a strong desire to help. Whilst on my NLP training, I realised that was all about me wanting to feel needed and valuable. I’ve long since established that I don’t need to prove myself through others and feel proud and confident in myself and my work, but this process was an important step. 

It helped me realise that fundamentally I was a kind person, that my values were grounded in heart felt compassion and empathy, and that these things would make me a better therapist.

I truly connect with the quote from Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly,

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” This quote is by Pema Chödrön, from her book The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness

Compassion is about shared humanity, understanding someone’s journey through their pain.

At times we have people seek our help who have been on a path to find how to be well for over 20 years, consulting NHS physios, osteopaths, chiropractors and any other therapy that promises a fix.

When I hear the whole story, I feedback what I have heard, and then wonder at what I haven’t. Often these folks have been on such a search, undergoing treatment from therapists who believe they can use a blanket technique to fix a problem in the body without appreciating the nuances of each individual self.

As I assess, I ask patients: what makes you feel whole? What makes you feel everything is going to be ok? What makes you feel loved?

These are often tough questions, because when pain has been a constant visitor for such a long time, we develop strategies to cope, which often then become permanent crutches.

As a physio I can often help. I use the Hendrickson Method to calm the nervous system, and the precision of the soft tissue mobilisation to break the cycle of pain. But being empathetic, communicating the message that they are not alone, triggers a new belief that wellness is possible – a vital part of the healing process.

We can then start to tackle what patients need to hear. I have found that after visiting the answers to the questions above, we’re in the right position as therapists to be able to give compassionately truthful feedback, and the patient is in the right place to hear it.

It’s not always easy to tell someone they might need to start counselling, start dedicating time in their already busy lives to losing weight or practicing pilates, or joining local clubs which give their mind and body purpose. But when we’re together as equals in the healing process, it’s much easier to put them on their path to wholeness.

Susan Bennett FLCSP (Phys)

Sue qualified in Remedial Massage in 1991 at the Northern Institute of Massage gaining a solid foundation on which to build her bodywork skills. Since 1991, Sue has continued her education to include a vast range of soft tissue techniques, giving her a great knowledge of anatomy and physiology, acquiring the title of physiotherapist in 2004. Sue also gained her Higher Grade Diploma in Manipulative Therapy in 2002.

After being in practice for a number of years, Sue wanted to expand her knowledge and find a soft-tissue technique which would enhance her treatments and create greater precision in clinic. She found this by travelling to the US in order to train under leading chiropractor Tom Hendrickson in San Francisco for 7 years.

In 2009 became the UK’s first qualified Hendrickson Method® therapist and is an ambassador for the Hendrickson Method® in the UK. Sue continues to undertake mentoring from Dr Tom Hendrickson in Berkeley, CA.

Committed to continually developing her knowledge and skills, most recently Sue completed a 10 month series in 2018 in Myofascial Anatomy & Movement for Pilates & Yoga teachers with Gary Carter of Natural Bodies.

Sue has also completed training with the Nuero Orthopedic Institute to further her understanding of pain and its mechanisms. She has undertaken the following workshops: Explain Pain, Mobilisation of the Nervous System and Graded Motor Imagery.

Sue is also a teacher and trainer of physiotherapy; she writes and delivers various workshops for physiotherapy and massage therapists throughout the UK, Ireland and Canada, and is PTLLS trained. She is also a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner.

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