How To Get Your Patients To Trust What You Are Saying Even As A ‘Young’ & ‘Inexperienced’ New Grad Physio

Posted By: Andy Barker

Building TRUST is how you get patient’s to ‘Buy In’ to your treatment plans.

Without this, patient’s will NOT do what you ask them to do…

They won’t go away and complete the exercises you set them…

At best they might do them a few times then forget about them…

And the worst thing…

They will still walk into your clinic the next week and ask you why they still have pain and are not improving.

It’s obvious to you and should be to your patient.

They are NOT better because they haven’t done their exercises.

It’s as simple as that.

In my last blog I spoke about why a patient really doesn’t adhere to your treatment plan.

It’s because of a patient’s lack of TRUST in you the therapist and your treatment plan or because you delivered your clinical MESSAGE poorly.

If you missed this blog, you can catch it here

We know TRUST and the MESSAGE you give are key to patient ‘Buy In’ to your treatment plan.

This blog is going to tell you exactly how to build TRUST with your patients and lose that tag as being a ‘Young’ and ‘Inexperienced’ therapist, to help you get your patients to ‘Buy-In’ to your treatment plans and help you start getting consistent positive patient results.

Explain Things The ‘Right’ Way


Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.

It doesn’t matter what your patient’s problems are, what activities they want to get to get back to doing, or even how complex or lengthy their treatment plan may be…

To gain TRUST and ‘Buy-In’ to your treatment plan patients just need to understand WHY they are doing what you are asking them to do.

You do this by making your clinical messages as SIMPLE as possible.

Patients need to see a CLEAR link between their current problems and your solutions i.e. your treatment plan.

How you explain this information, your clinical message, to your patient needs to be concise, clear and above all else SIMPLE.

Your patient wants to walk out of your clinic door with clear understanding about what their problems are and how your treatment plan will fix these problems.

If they don’t…

…They will go away and NOT do their home exercise programmes.

Using fancy medical jargon and terminology might make you sound clever but is likely to just overwhelm and confuse your patient.

You need to make your message as simple as possible for your patients to understand.

Don’t bullshit!!!

If you don’t know, don’t pretend you do.

This is something New Grad’s do ALL the time…

You really want to help your patients, I get it.

We all do.

That’s why we wanted to become a therapist.

To impact people lives and help them out of pain and back doing the things they enjoy doing the most.

But you will not gain any patients trust or ‘Buy In’ if you bullshit and get things wrong.

If you are getting half-way through your treatment plan, maybe session 3 or 4, and your patient is NOT improving at the rate they thought they would, you can be in BIG TROUBLE.

I don’t just mean because they are not getting better.

But because your patient may have lost their trust in you completely.

Your patient will 100% remember when you said ‘their knee pain would be gone in a few sessions’ or when you said ‘you will be back in gym after 6 weeks’…

…And when they are not, they will ask you why and remind you of what you said.

If they don’t, they are just being polite by not telling you.

And it is usually these patients that stop turning up.

You will make mistakes as a New Grad, but don’t put yourself in a position to potentially make more.

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to please people and give timeframes you aren’t clear about and cannot confidently keep to.

I know from working in elite sport for over 10 years that you live and die by your timeframes.
In professional sport if tell a player they will be back in 4 weeks they will EXPECT to be back in 4 weeks.

In fact, most players and particularly Head Coaches will expect you to get them back even earlier, by shaving a week or two of their return to play.

When you get them back on schedule, or even earlier than anticipated, no big fuss is made, it’s just what’s expected in sport.

But when their NOT back when you said they would be…your trouble.

This all comes down to knowing and being clear as a therapist how to take an athlete or patient through a full treatment plan, start to finish.

Knowing how to progress (and regress if needed) an athlete or patient with any injury and be close to certain when they do return to full activity, they will not break down again.

This is bread and butter for a therapist working in professional sport.

But if you don’t have experience doing this it is a tough skill.

Be Honest

For any relationship, honesty is key.

The relationship between you and your patient’s is no different.

You need to be honest with what you tell your patients.

We all want to impact our patient lives and get them back to what activities they enjoy the most as quickly as possible.

But giving your patients unrealistic timeframes that you can NOT meet will make you look incompetent and dishonest.

You told them one thing, yet you can’t withhold your side of the deal.

Their side of the deal is doing their rehab exercises, giving up their time, money and effort to come and see you.

If you don’t keep up your side of the deal, patients wont either and will stop doing their home exercise programme and even worse, possibly stop coming to see you all together.

Key Take-Aways

  • Keep It Simple Stupid – Ensure your messages are clear and simple so your patients understand their PROBLEMS and HOW your treatment plan will get them back to their outcome goal
  • Don’t BULLSHIT – If you don’t know don’t pretend you do. Patients will remember what you said if their expectations are not being met by your treatment plan, they will likely stop adhering to their home exercise programme
  • Be HONEST – This is key to building any relationship and this applies to the relationship between you and your patients. Give clear, concise and honest information to maximise TRUST and keep your patient’s on track with their treatment plans

I would love to hear your own struggles in relation to your objective assessments and your thoughts about giving (or not giving) a patient a diagnosis.

Send me an email to to let me know your thoughts and I’ll get back to you straight away.

If explaining a patient’s prognosis and treatment plan is something you struggle with, don’t worry, its so common with New Grad Physio’s.

If you struggle when patient’s ask questions like…

‘How many sessions will I need?’

‘When will I be able to get back to running’

‘When will my pain go away?’

Send me an email to with the subject ‘TRUST’ and I’ll get right back to you with some help.