Negotiating objectives in physical therapy: Detailed analysis of the interaction

Veronika Schoeb Mezzanotte Amat, Liliane Staffoni, Claude Pichonnaz

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Physical therapists are generally advised to set therapeutic goals with each individual patient. The theory of "constructive negotiation" can be helpful in conceptualizing this process. The purpose of this study was to describe the interaction between the patient and the physical therapists during goal setting.Method: Four physical therapists recorded their first meeting with patients presenting musculoskeletal problems. The Conversational analysis was used to explore specific features of the interaction based on the use of pauses and vocabulary, as well as overlaps in talking times.Results: Three phases can be distinguished in constructive negotiation: consultation, confrontation, and conciliation. The results demonstrate the complexity of this approach.Conclusion: The theory of constructive negotiation enables a structural approach to goal setting in physical therapy. This process nevertheless requires significant investment from both participants in terms of time and effort.Level of evidence : 4 (case series).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-59
Number of pages5
Issue number97
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Goal setting
  • Interaction
  • Negotiation
  • Physical therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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