Publication Date



School of Health Sciences


Exercise Science: Pre-Professional


Physical Therapy, Motivational Techniques, Rehabilitation


Physical Therapy


There is a strong positive correlation between a successful physical therapist (PT), their clinic, and the motivational techniques used during therapy. The PT should be prepared to sit down with each patient and set short- and long-term goals to help them accomplish what they desire through therapy. Effective communication skills, practical skills and technique, individualized care, and organizational and environmental factors are the four major aspects that define patient-therapist relationships. Patient adherence to their home exercise program (HEP) is vital to a successful rehabilitation, and therefore the PT’s goal should be to help the patient understand the importance of the prescribed protocol. To do this, the PT should be able to creatively find ways to relate to each patient, regardless of their age, gender or demographic.

As part of this thesis, a research study was also conducted to investigate best motivational practices in PT. Data were collected through a ten-question survey distributed at a well-known, successful clinic to identify what is the most important to patients during the rehabilitation process. One of the questions, “rate how well the physical therapist’s personality meshes with the patient’s” had the highest rating, which supported the prediction that in rehabilitation it is most important that the PT be able to relate to the patient on a personal level. Based on the results of the survey, itwas concluded that the most important motivational factor to patients was the personality of the PT. Therefore, for a clinic to be successful, it is recommended to hire staff that are not only well educated but have a warm and caring personality.