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The Path to Translating Focus of Attention Research into Canadian Physiotherapy, Part 2: Physiotherapist Interviews Reveal Impacting Factors and Barriers to Focus of Attention Use

Julia Hussien, Lauren Gignac, Lauren Shearer, and Diane M. Ste-Marie

Although researchers have highlighted the benefits of adopting an external focus of attention for rehabilitation, studies have consistently revealed low external focus use by physiotherapists. Consequently, the purpose of this research was to explore factors influencing physiotherapists’ focus of attention use and to gain insight into the barriers, and potential solutions, related to effective external focus use. Eight physiotherapists, working with musculoskeletal rehabilitation clients, first completed the Therapists’ Perceptions of Motor Learning Principles Questionnaire and then participated in virtual one-on-one interviews. The interviews followed a semistructured interview guide and were analyzed using a total quality framework approach to qualitative content analysis. Data showed that physiotherapists’ focus of attention use was influenced by physiotherapist, client, and task characteristics/experiences, as well as focus of attention statement provision strategies. Furthermore, the main barriers discussed related to educational experiences, reinforcement of internal focus of attention statement use and aspects related to research. Solutions presented to these barriers included the incorporation of focus of attention content into both the Canadian physiotherapy curriculum and continued education. Overall, these results advance our knowledge of factors underlying physiotherapists’ focus of attention use and barriers that must be overcome to successfully translate the focus of attention research into physiotherapy.

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The Path to Translating Focus of Attention Research Into Canadian Physiotherapy, Part 3: Designing a Workshop Through Consultation With Physiotherapists and Focus of Attention Researchers

Julia Hussien, Lauren Gignac, Lauren Shearer, and Diane M. Ste-Marie

Although researchers have consistently demonstrated the potential benefit of an external focus of attention for rehabilitation, research has shown that this finding has yet to be translated into Canadian physiotherapy. Further, specific barriers to external focus use have been reported by Canadian physiotherapists, and as a solution toward increasing physiotherapists’ use of external focus, these same physiotherapists recommended the development of an educational workshop on focus of attention. Considering this, described herein is the process of developing such a workshop, which involved (a) gathering input from physiotherapists concerning content and format via one-on-one interviews and (b) engaging in discussion about content with focus of attention researchers. Analysis of the interview data featured key content for the workshop, the types of activities to include, and a recommended sequencing for the activities: specifically, sharing didactic information on focus of attention research, then providing instruction and demonstration of external focus use, and finally, finishing with opportunities for generating and delivering external focus statements. This input, along with that of the researchers, led to the development of a two-component focus of attention workshop, which includes an asynchronous component, featuring seven self-directed learning modules and a synchronous component, which consists of a virtual group session.