This One Skill Predicts Success In a Cash-Based Practice

With years of experience in this dynamic field, I’ve come to recognize one fundamental truth: leadership is the key to success. It’s not just about managing a team; it’s about guiding our patients with confidence and expertise, understanding their unique needs, and leading them to discover the root causes of their ailments. Join me as we explore how leadership, along with some other elements, sets us apart in providing specialized, patient-centric care.

Leadership as a Key Skill

I’ve learned that in physical therapy, leadership is not just a skill, but a necessity for success. It’s about guiding our patients beyond the surface of their symptoms, fostering trust and empowering them with the knowledge and confidence to understand and overcome their health challenges.

Understanding Leadership Beyond Management

Leadership in physical therapy transcends team management, focusing on confidently guiding patients through their healthcare journey. Effective leadership involves teaching patients to understand the root causes of their symptoms, not just treating them.

As a leader, gaining patients’ trust is essential, especially in a cash-based practice where their investment is more personal. Confidence in your professional skills and judgment is crucial for establishing trust and leading patients effectively in their treatment journey.

Leading Patients to Discover Root Causes

In my practice, I emphasize the importance of not just treating symptoms but uncovering and addressing the root causes. This approach requires a thorough evaluation and a willingness to look beyond the obvious. It’s about connecting the dots between various symptoms and underlying issues, often requiring patience, keen observation and a comprehensive understanding of the human body.

Treating the root cause of a problem often leads to more sustainable results. This approach can sometimes challenge both the therapist and the patient to look beyond immediate relief and focus on long-term health and wellness. It’s a commitment to alleviating symptoms and improving overall quality of life.

Gaining Trust and Buy-In

Trust is the foundation of any successful patient-therapist relationship, especially in a cash-based practice. I strive to build this trust by being transparent about treatment plans and expected outcomes. It’s about creating a partnership with patients, where they feel involved and informed about their care, leading to greater commitment and better results.

The Role of Confidence

Confidence in our abilities as therapists is key to providing the best care. This is built through:

  • Experience
  • Ongoing education
  • Decision making
  • Staying up-to-date with the latest research and trends in physical therapy


a woman therapist teaching a right physical therapy posture exercises to a man with cap

Understanding Patient Choices

Understanding our patients’ choices is fundamental to providing effective care. Our role is to empathize with their frustrations and tailor a treatment plan that addresses their physical needs and offers the emotional support essential for their healing journey.

Seeking Solutions After Other Treatments Fail

Many patients turn to cash-based physical therapy as a last resort after other treatments haven’t provided the relief they need. Others, especially athletes, opt for cash-based services to achieve quick and effective recovery, where time is crucial.

They are often frustrated and looking for a more personalized approach to their care. Understanding this mindset is crucial in developing a treatment plan that addresses their physical needs and provides the emotional support they need.


Making Tough Decisions

In my practice, leadership often means making difficult decisions, such as altering a treatment plan when it’s not giving results. Sometimes, the most challenging but necessary decision is to stop treatment and refer patients elsewhere, ensuring they receive the most appropriate care for their needs.

Tough decisions will continuously arise in this field, but it’s important to recognize them and ultimately make the decision in the patient’s best interest.

Professional Confidence

Confidence in our skills and judgment is essential; it guides our treatment decisions and instills trust in our patients. Continual learning and staying abreast of the latest developments in physical therapy are vital to maintaining and enhancing this confidence.

Continuing Education and Self-Improvement

I firmly believe in the power of continuous education and self-improvement to enhance our treatment effectiveness and patient care. Regularly updating our skills and knowledge through courses and workshops is crucial to stay at the forefront of evolving physical therapy practices.


Distinguishing Ourselves as Physical Therapists

My practice is grounded in the philosophy of holistic care, where we strive to understand and treat the deeper causes of our patients’ conditions. This commitment to comprehensive healing and patient education has set us apart and solidified our role as trusted leaders in delivering specialized, transformative care in the physical therapy community.

Embracing a Holistic Approach

In my practice, we set ourselves apart by not just treating symptoms but by holistically addressing the underlying causes, ensuring comprehensive and lasting healing for our patients.

Our focus on thorough evaluation, patient education and innovative treatment strategies has built our reputation as clinicians who go beyond standard care to offer unique and practical solutions.

The Impact of Specialized Care

By providing specialized, patient-centric care, we achieve better outcomes and establish ourselves as trusted leaders in the physical therapy community.

Primal University and Resources

I’m excited to share that Primal University, launching in January 2024, will be a pivotal resource for physical therapists seeking to enhance their skills and practice. This platform will offer a range of courses, ebooks, resources and workshops focusing on the latest techniques and patient-centered approaches.


Embracing Leadership for Transformative Physical Therapy

Leadership is the linchpin of success in a cash-based physical therapy practice. It’s about much more than managing a team; it’s about guiding patients through their healing journey with confidence and expertise. By understanding patient choices, uncovering root causes and gaining patient buy-in, we can provide care beyond temporary fixes. Our commitment to professional confidence, continuous education, and specialized care sets us apart as clinicians. Join us at Primal University to further this journey, where we strive to treat and transform lives through exceptional physical therapy.

About the Author
Dr. JJ Thomas, DPT, MPT, CMTPT
JJ Thomas is the owner and founder of Primal Physical Therapy and Primal University, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. She is an instructor for Evidence in Motion, and lectures and speaks nationally on the topics of Dry Needling, Functional Movement Analysis, and Functional Anatomy. She has been published in IJSPT for her contribution to a commentary on dry needling and consults as a content expert for organizations such as the APTA and FSBPT. In this role, she played a large part in the addition of a CPT code for dry needling through the AMA and was on the task force that helped identify competency standards for dry needling education nationally. JJ works with US Field Hockey teams, and individuals from US Lacrosse, US Polo, USA Track and Field, NFL, NBA, PLL, MLB, and more.
Scroll to Top