Care in physiotherapy - a ghost story
Chapter, Peer reviewed
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The role of care in physiotherapy has largely been ignored in research and professional discussions. We explore the causes and consequences of this neglect as an attempt to rethink what care is and can be in physiotherapy. We draw on a variety of perspectives and sources, which we assemble into a story about what physiotherapy is, has been, and can become. The basis of the story is a case narrative about an elderly woman treated by a physiotherapist. The case is developed into a broader story in which the physiotherapy profession itself becomes the patient. By subjecting our ‘patient’ to Freudian psychoanalysis, we show how care becomes repressed during the practice of physiotherapy, only to return as something uncanny: a pang of conscience, a sense of shame, or a ghostly presence haunting the profession. Inspired by an ancient Graeco-Roman myth and the theories of Heidegger and Mol, we argue that care is central to what it means to be human, and thus, that care should be recognized as an integral part of physiotherapy. By making latent and repressed content manifest and visible, we hope to open a discussion about the necessity of making space for care in physiotherapy.