Physical Therapist

The Power of Positive Thinking


I have been telling my students all year that we don’t work on the “easy stuff” in Physical Therapy, we work on the hard things until they become easy.  Part of this comes with practicing the challenging skill, but a large part also comes from the way we approach the practice.  Helping your child have a growth mindset will make a world of difference in your child’s educational experiences. 


So what is a growth mindset?  It was developed by psychologist Carol Dweck who explains mindset as a self-perception or “self-theory” that people hold about themselves.  For example, it is believing that you are smart or not smart, good athlete or bad athlete.  This type of mindset can have a profound effect on not only learning achievement, but also skill acquisition in a therapy session.

Carol Dweck explains mindset further comparing a fixed  mindset to a growth mindset.   According to Dweck, “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.”   In comparison, Dweck explains that “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” (Source) 

There are many ways you can help your child to change the way they think by encouraging the use of positive language at home.  This will not only help your child with academic challenges, but also any challenges they may face in physical education, participating in therapy, or their everyday lives.


Here are some examples of using more positive words with your child:

  • Fixed Mindset: “This is too hard for me.”
  • Growth Mindset: “This is challenging, but I will try my best.”
  • Fixed Mindset: “I give up.”
  • Growth Mindset: “I am going to use some of the strategies I have learned.”
  • Fixed Mindset: “I made a mistake..”
  • Growth Mindset: “Mistakes help me improve.”

(Photo) Be Positive!

~ Jamie Fugowski, DPT


Disclaimer:  This website is not a place for therapeutic recommendations or interventions.  The ideas presented here are informational and intended to be used only for play with close adult supervision and should  not be used for diagnostic or training purposes. If you are concerned about you or a family member starting an exercise program please see your medical provider.

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