Neurological Physiotherapy: Bobath concept part 2
Updated: May 3
When can someone call themselves a Bobath trained therapist? - After a weekend introductory course/After the 3-week basic course/After years of advanced courses??
Currently there is no specific testing or accreditation process for calling oneself a Bobath therapist. People don’t go around calling themselves this all the time, but if you read somewhere that someone is Bobath trained, what does that mean? This is important, as patients looking for therapy, you need to be able to have a picture of what it is you are choosing. There are many disciplines/approaches when it comes to neurological therapy. Some are more practice based. Some are more exercise based. The Bobath concept is about problem solving ones individual movement dysfunctions and then using facilitation and the environment to help them to improve.
There are differences in therapists as they move along the education spectrum. But even whilst learning the Bobath concept, therapists are still practicing a problem solving nature based on current science to uncover specific, individualized components to one’s therapeutic picture. This, used in conjunction with movement advice, exercise, home routines, and education can be of benefit regardless of the practitioner’s experience with the Bobath concept.
So there isn’t a specific timeframe for when someone can call themselves a Bobath trained therapist. But for therapists committed to learning the Bobath concept, it is a road not undertaken lightly. The Bobath concept is hard to learn and takes time, dedication, lots of study and lots and lots of reflection. A Bobath therapist has made the commitment to study the nervous system and how they can use that knowledge to improve one that has been damaged.
During my course work, as well as studying with and learning from other Bobath therapists, I have seen how the education is changing. IBITA has been working overtime to try to get to the heart of what defines the Bobath concept by learning how to study it, and so importantly, then how to teach it. There are more discrete frameworks, guided hypothesis generation and clinical reasoning techniques, and more neurophysiological ‘truths’ that can be used to help generate assessment and treatment conceptions. This advancement in education may change how the Bobath concept is practiced in the future, creating a more standardized assessment/treatment system.
Regardless of changes to how it is taught, the Bobath concept will remain, I hope, a client centered approach that always takes the uniqueness of the therapist-client interaction to heart, thus creating unique treatments for unique answers to clients’ unique problems with movement. This process starts day 1 of learning the concept. I have seen new graduates who have started to learn the Bobath concept come up with brilliant ideas and treatments.
So, for someone to say or advertise that they are Bobath trained is an admission that they are committed to the study, the art, and the scientific practice of neurological physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy in general is individualistic in nature. It is the therapists themselves that drive their practice. The connection between the therapist and patient is vital regardless of which approach someone takes. There are many ways to go about helping those with neurological deficits and different approaches will help different individuals at different times.
Although I practice the Bobath concept, I would say that having a variety of approaches at one’s disposal is of great benefit. I use exercise, education, activity and task practice the time. However, I am doing so with a problem solving mindset as the backbone of my decision-making. The Bobath concept is a starting point for therapists to create a framework for individualized treatments and assessments based on current neuroscience and the scientific method. No matter where they are in their learning of the concept, this process is the key and most important aspect of the Bobath concept.
I hope this thread helps you to understand a little bit more about what a Bobath therapist is and their foundation. If you are interested to learn more, there is a plethora of information available on the IBITA website, https://ibita.org/
Thanks for reading,