Our Future

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By Terry C. Brown, PT, DPT

For those of you who don’t know or maybe have wondered, “How old is that guy?” I am 60 years old. When I was a young therapist, 60 sounded really old. That was the group of therapists who sat together at meetings and seemed to have their own club. Now that I have arrived at 60, it really does not seem old at all. In fact there are distinct advantages that come with age. These advantages do not include degenerative joint disease, frequent urination, or problems with memory acuity; they do, however, include perspective, patience, and inner calmness. These are traits that for the first 25 years of practice I did not possess, and their absence most likely drove my passion to succeed. Now they allow me to view our profession with clear vision and peace about our future.

Having just returned from the Graham Sessions in St. Petersburg, Florida, I witnessed two days of remarkable dialogue and passion that strengthen my faith in our future. Yes, there were us “old timers,” most likely sitting together like we had some club, offering valuable perspective and equilibrium. Also present was a plethora of young vibrant clinicians, educators, and idea makers who stood up and expressed their thoughts and hopes about the future of this profession, people who are driven by the idea that physical therapy is a doctoring profession that has truly unlimited growth potential.

The weekend oratory included “What I Believe” speeches that had the tenor of a church revival, debates on education of therapists that made me challenge my view multiple times during the discussion, and a keynote speaker who shocked even this jaded old timer with the abuse in our health care system today. The two days were truly remarkable, not just for the content of the forum, but also for the quality of the discussion and insights offered by participants. This was the best Graham Sessions yet, and it set the tone for discussions our board of directors will have to guide our Private Practice Section in the coming year.

This 60-year-old therapist with arthritic hands, who gets up every night to go to the bathroom and may well forget your name, has an invigorated perspective about our future and knows at least one roomful of people who will lead us there. I thank all the participants, young and old, for their wisdom and honesty and look forward to working together to make our perspective reality.

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