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Is there anything that you focus on as a therapist that traditional medicine does not?

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Speech-Language Pathologist

Answer transcribed from the Brightway Answers interview with speech-language pathologist Amber Kloess:

This is a really good question - I had to think about this for quite a while.

In my practice, I look at the person as a whole, not just their brain injury. Sometimes you go to the doctor and they ask what's bothering you, and only treat that thing. I always establish rapport with my patient and their families, first getting to know them and their family, their interests, their work or school life, pets, family values, hobbies, etc. We can spend most of the initial session talking about those things. And that is okay because if we're going to build a therapeutic relationship, I want to know about you just as you probably want to know about me.

I also allow the patient to establish goals. Our role as a speech language pathologist is to recommend and implement strategies and to help you to get better. So keeping open communication with patients, families, and other team members - whether it's occupational therapy, psychology, physical therapy, case managers, or anybody else that’s important. 

Traditional medicine doesn’t always do this, but if it's important to the patient, it's going to be important to me. If a patient comes in and says “I had a really difficult time at the grocery store yesterday and I don't know what I did wrong”, we can focus on that during our session. I don't throw all the other goals out the window, but I’ll focus on what they care about for the time being so they can feel heard and problem solve in real time what they could do better.

Physical Therapist

Answer transcribed from Brightway's interview with physical therapist Susan Little:

That's a tough one. I don't really feel all that unconventional. I feel like as a physical therapist, I'm part of traditional medicine. Particularly when I think about it in the context of brain injury, the saying is that it takes a village for someone to recover from a brain injury and part of that village is the physician but also the physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, psychiatrist, nutritionist, and the dietitian. I can go on and on, so I don't really feel that there's something that I do outside of traditional medicine. I feel that physical therapy is really part of traditional medicine and in my kick about exercise and movement, I challenge you to say that exercise and movement will keep your body well and allow you to move better and improve.