Tara is the newest member of our Aim2Walk team. She is an Australian-trained Physiotherapy Resident, and we feel extremely fortunate (as do our clients) to have her around. She has too many qualities to list here, and she likes to dance to random songs in the middle of the clinic. Tara has the enthusiasm, work-ethic, and critical thinking skills required to become an amazing neurological physiotherapist, and she also has the emotional intelligence (read on) needed to make real changes in her patients’ lives.
“You are truly an amazing team. Rarely have I seen such true multi-disciplinary collaboration.”
These are the words of a patient after her first week of treatment with the Aim2Walk team. As the newest therapist to join this team, I could not agree more. While it is true that the Aim2Walk clinic boasts state of the art neurological equipment, that is not what makes this clinic truly standout. What’s most extraordinary about Aim2Walk is the therapists, and the Therapy ‘X Factor’.
I first came upon this term in an article by Glenn Ruscoe. He is the Chairman of the Physiotherapy Board of Australia and an independent physiotherapy consultant. He used the Therapy ‘X Factor’ to explain why high intelligence and proficient skills may not be enough to make a successful therapist.
What distinguishes great therapists from merely good ones? It isn’t IQ or technical skills, its emotional intelligence.
The term ‘emotional intelligence’ was coined to describe a form of social intelligence that involves monitoring the feelings and emotions of ourselves and others and to use this information to guide our thinking and actions. Emotional intelligence plays a greater role in success than cognitive intelligence. It has been suggested that social and emotional abilities are four times more important than IQ in determining professional success.
This is not to suggest that the therapists’ intelligence has been irrelevant to their success at Aim2Walk. They all have a wealth of education, knowledge and skill. But beyond this, the therapists at Aim2walk are able to persist in the face of difficulty, collaborate well with colleagues and connect with patients. They have mastered their emotional competencies.
Framework of Emotional Competencies
An emotional competency is ‘a learned capability based on emotional intelligence that results in outstanding performance at work’. I am sure you can pick out a few emotional competencies from the above list that you have recognized in your Aim2Walk therapist.
For example, adaptability is a competence demonstrated by those who think ‘outside the box’, display on-the-job creativity and apply new ideas to achieve results. Or empathy; health professionals who are better at recognising emotions in patients are more successful than their less sensitive colleagues at treating them. Teamwork and collaboration is also one of the best attributes of the Aim2Walk team. I have quickly come to feel respected and involved as a member of the team. Patients also recognize and benefit from this collaborative approach, as you can see from the quote at the beginning of this post.
When I began to learn about the Therapy ‘X-factor’ it seemed like an abstract and idealized concept. But I am glad to say that it does exist in the real world of therapy, and it certainly does exist at Aim2Walk. I am proud to join such an outstanding team!