Body and identity in physiotherapy after stroke

Helle Rønn-Smidt, Marianne Jensen, Hanne Pallesen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: Stroke has been described as a rupture of current life, causing changes in the patient’s identity. This has important consequences for the patient’s life after stroke. Nevertheless,th ere is still a lack of science on the subject and also a lack of consistency in how to confront this in rehabilitation.
Aim: The aim of this study is to explore how interaction between patient and physiotherapist is conducted and how an approach inspired by phenomenology might support and develop identity.
Design and Methods: A qualitative study based on empirical data consisting of 146 short videos of physiotherapist and patient interactions as well as observations and interviews of physiotherapists and patients. Twelve patients were included, and data was constructed throughout their rehabilitation process (on average 2.5 years). Data was analyzed using an analytical model for multimodal interaction.
Result: Four themes emerged: 1) feedback as a bodily knowledge; 2) control of the process; 3) adjustment; and 4) the bodily approach. The results revealed the importance of approaching the patient body as both an object and a subject in order to interact with the patient’s bodily knowledge.
Conclusion: A phenomenological approach to the patient can support the patient’s embodied knowledge, and can thereby support and develop the patient’s identity.
Translated title of the contributionKrop og identitet i fysioterapi efter apopleksi
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysiotherapy theory and practice
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1067-1079
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • health, nutrition and quality of life

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