Episode 149 - Phil Commons, part 2: Here for the Patient

Phil Commons PhD, PT Dip MDT

In episode 149 I conclude my conversation with Dr. Philomena Commons of West Yorkshire, England.  She elaborates on her experience extending care to the homeless and shares a meaningful quote and a helpful patient education analogy.  She also offers a resource, an article she'd recommend reading and more.


Dr Philomena Commons is a Senior lecturer in Physiotherapy and Sports therapy in Leeds Beckett university.  She also works as a clinician in Neurophysiotherapy , Leeds andSt Georges Crypt in Leeds treating musculoskeletal disorders. She is a faculty member with the McKenzie Institute International and has introduced the Mckenzie Method to physiotherapists in Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Madagascar and DPRK. Her particular interests lie in the area of improving services for marginalised groups in UK and overseas and developing physiotherapy clinicians.  

Show Notes 


Pleasant Surprises

Phil talks about some particular successes that have made impressions on her. She talks specifics in the PD population, general fitness, and the importance of education on prophylaxis. 


Treating the Homeless

Phil explains her involvement in a “drop-in clinic” for homeless people. She talks about the use of students in her pro-bono clinic, as well as her changing perception of the homeless population. She also explains how your role becomes an advocate as well as a clinician, but the application of MDT remains the same. 


Educating Different Cultures

Phil explains some differences she has noticed in her experiences with teaching courses around the world. She recognizes how cultural differences have changed her teaching styles, but also her understanding of what “learning” means to different cultures. She makes some parallels between differences in cultural learning to her current educational style with her own adult patients. 


Relevant Quotes

“If you know… why doesn’t the patient know?” David Porter


“We are there for the patient.” -Robin McKenzie


Memorable Patient Experience

Phil recalls going into a prison in Afghanistan and treating patients with severe sciatica and deformity. 

She also tells stories of some patients with the “other” classification, and how her education and the MDT assessment allowed her to quickly refer these patients out.


Relevant Education Analogies

Phil talks about “not being a tree,” regarding a patient’s ability to change, move, and be active.

She also refers to sitting upright in good posture as compared to a hot air balloon.


Resources and Studies



ARCS Model - John Keller






See MDT World Press Volume 5, No. 2, for parallels between MDT and Keller’s ARCS Model


Best Advice

Phil reflects on setting goals, Robin’s insights, and the use of seminars/webinars to progress in her career. She talks about the importance of challenging yourself, and giving your attention and focus to your goals. 


Contacting Phil Commons

Phil invites us to reach out to her via email via p.commons@leedsbeckett.ac.uk