None of us could ever have imagined that we would be a part of one of the generations of history. But our challenge has arrived. In an inspirational message, JHR Editor-in-Chief Dr. Sarah Blanton examines what it means to navigate these uncertain times. She demonstrates how a humanities perspective can well be what saves us and makes us stronger. “I truly believe this cohort of clinicians, experiencing this pandemic, will emerge with exceptional levels of resiliency, compassion, cognitive flexibility, and critical thinking skills…,” she concludes. “Our world will be remarkable in ways we have yet to imagine.”
In this personal and insightful interview, Dr. Carol M. Davis relates her process of becoming a physical therapist, noting that the road to professionalism involves a willingness to “mature into oneself.” Describing her experiences working with students entering the field of physical therapy, she illustrates why studying the humanities helps students move beyond viewing their work as merely an occupation. Her reflections steer us towards a deeper understanding of what it means to be an extraordinary professional.
Babs McDonald describes her journey toward recovery from an ischemic stroke through painting and sketching. Through numerous examples of her artwork, she details her experiences pushing through impairment to create images chronicling her life. Based on her success, she advocates for the use of fine art techniques to foster upper limb movement in stroke survivors. Creating her art, she says, has taught her that “there are no failures in my recovery, only new challenges.”
As today’s healthcare professionals struggle to address the challenges of chronic-pain management, Debra Gorman-Badar argues that current multidisciplinary programs are missing a crucial component: an updated conception of patient autonomy. She details how expressive therapies help patients integrate their chronic-pain experiences into their lives and promote healing self-knowledge—as Frida Kahlo did through her remarkable paintings.
In a timely and important editorial, Jamie Fleshman, SPT calls for new amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act. She identifies a critical contributor to American disability: the continued inaccessibility of public spaces. Attention must be drawn, she argues, to an American infrastructure that has been constructed for “a certain set of abilities,” and is profoundly outdated.
How Art Embodies Story: An Exploration of Basquiat Through a Physically Integrated Dance Performance
Melissa McCune reports on a recent dance project of Full Radius Dance—a company that integrates disabled and non-disabled dancers—which interpreted the works of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. As a child, Basquiat experienced a debilitating injury that greatly influenced his art. Encountering groundbreaking works such as these, McCune explains, can help clinicians look beyond basic anatomy to see the “layered nature” of pain and disability.
A photograph, a memory of the sound of wind in the trees, of a chill in the air, invoke a personal reflection of a life focused on movement and care. In her delicate poem, Kathryn Zalewski, PT, PhD, MPA,uses Gregg Fuhrman, MPT, OCS, CFMT, CMTPT’s image to guide her description of life as a physical therapist, a mother, and a teacher — in whispers.
Cindy B. Dodds, PT, PhD, PCS and colleagues describe how their successful pilot program took physical therapy students out of the university setting and into a local art museum for a unique experience of observation using visual thinking strategies.