Podcast 12: Shaky foundations? Moving beyond the biopsychosocial model with Dr Peter Stilwell


Welcome to another episode of The Words Matter Podcast.

On this episode I speak with Dr Peter Stilwell. Peter holds a Kinesiology degree from the University of Calgary, Doctor of Chiropractic degree from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, and graduate degrees (MSc and PhD) from Dalhousie University.

He is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at McGill University and his research interests include pain, suffering, and patient-clinician communication. 

Many of you will be familiar with Peter’s excellent paper with Katherine Hartman on moving beyond the BPS model toward a 5-E enactivist approach to understanding and managing MSK pain.

In problematising the BPS model in the way that it did, the paper really caused me to reflect on how I viewed and implemented the spirit of BPS  into my work. I know that the paper was a similar stimulus for many other of my colleagues and clinicians across the MSK professions.

So in this episode we:

  • Delve into some of the underlying assumptions and lack of theoretical foundations of the BPS model and how enactivism addresses these gaps.
  • We talk about some of the issues of the BPS model in regards to its vagueness in its application and its tendency to crudely separate out complex component properties of the experience of pain.
  • We also get into metaphors and how his qualitative research has illuminated the way in which metaphors are used and interpreted by both clinicians and patients.

Whilst it was my intention to drill down into his paper and enactivist model, time got the better of us- and I’ll be sure to invite Peter on for a follow up episode.

As ever with these podcasts, I enjoyed every minute of talking with Peter. His expression “I just wants to do it all” exemplifies his passion, determination and productivity in furthering person-centred MSK practice.

His excitement and hunger is both palpable and infectious and have no doubt he will further build on his already significant contribution to knowledge in this area.

I bring you Dr Peter Stilwell.

Find Peter on Twitter @Peter_Stilwell

And more about his work here

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