COVID-19 is taking its toll on the world, causing tens of thousands of deaths, illnesses, and has pushed major economies into a tailspin.  The pandemic is a human tragedy and has a growing impact on the global economy.

Beyond those impacts, almost all of us will face psychological challenges – trying to maintain a responsible social distancing regimen without sliding into psychological  isolation and loneliness Are we all in the same boat?  No, we might be all in the same storm but definitely not the same boat.

Each of us, your employees and your family will be affected differently depending on the different personality types, your own financial situation, the social- economic situation in your country and   your own EQ (emotional Intelligence). Research shows that EQ  accounts for nearly 90% of what sets high performers apart  from others with similar technical skills and knowledge.

There is no doubt that leadership will be one of the most heavily tested skills throughout the coronavirus pandemic.”

L.K Murray, How to Lead with Emotional Intelligence in the Time of COVID-19 APRIL 21, 2020.

Murray gave these tips to be a better leader during this pandemic:

“Spend time on your own self-awareness. At the core of EQ, self-awareness is the area that leaders typically least enjoy or spend time on. They may see it as self-focused or a waste of time, but we can effectively work with others only if we get really good at knowing ourselves, our thoughts, our emotional reactions, and our tendencies.

Practice empathy.  Behavioral scientists have studied this and outlined that it includes mental awareness (imagining you are the other person), communication (what you say, how you say it), and a physical aspect (observation of tone, gestures).  The more attention you focus on who you are speaking to and really listening to them, the more your thoughts will resonate with theirs, making the delivery of empathy easier.

Label the fear. A proven technique from psychologists and negotiation experts is to label fears in order to defuse them. Labeling the fears of your team members tells them that you are aware. This is particularly critical in times like now. Such statements may include something like, “We understand that you were all hired to do jobs that may not be working the same way right now. You may feel like we are treating you unfairly or are making decisions without each of you and your personal situations in mind.” Cue into your team members’ possible fears; name and label them directly and with empathy. Anger tends to stem from fear, which is best managed by labeling—and empathy.

Be real. Share with others your own personal worries, concerns, and common thoughts. Now of all times, your team members really need to hear specific ways that you are in this with them.

Take care of yourself. We have all seen posts or videos of leaders who frankly just look exhausted. Any leader (business, parent, teacher, politician) is still human, and we cannot care for others without being healthy ourselves. That means leaders have to be good at this—really good! At a basic level, take time each day to do something that brings you happiness or pleasure. What is your fuel—the thing that refills your own tank? Positive psychology is real science that rewires your brain and leads to greater productivity and stress reduction.

Change your internal thoughts. Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are intricately connected. Changing thoughts to be more helpful will have a huge impact on the intensity of your emotions and shift your behaviors to be much more productive. This sets off a chain of events leading to more positive thoughts and even changes in neurochemistry”.

 Malta Meeting 13 -14th March 2020.                        

This meeting was by far one of the toughest and most stressful IPPTA meetings I have ever experienced in my 17 years of involvement with IPPTA.  But despite all the stress, disappointment and worries it was still one for the books and one that we will definitely remember.

A special word of thanks to the Maltese Association of Physiotherapy, our host. Maria, Mireille, Elaine, and Daniele – thanks for everything that you did to make us feel welcome and cared for.   It was not easy, and we saw how you stressed for your own members, your congress and the IPPTA meeting and your own families.  We will be back in Malta to experience some more of the “Malta-starter” that we had.

The meeting was successful, and we did achieve our objectives despite the fact that some people could not come, others had to turn around and some had to cut their time short.  Thanks to each and everyone of you who participated even if it was online for some (Andy and Marie).

Thanks for the time, effort, support and your positive attitude that everyone contributed.

“I think Hendry J. Beans Bar and Grill will never be the same again”.

Pam Simpson (IPPTA vice-chair) brilliantly facilitated the data registry workshop on the 13th of March 2020.   Thanks for taking this on Pam.

“At the beginning of March 2020 many representatives from our Member Organisations travelled to Malta for 2 days of business meetings on 13th and 14th March. The travel restrictions due to the Covid 19 pandemic hit hard over those few days and much time and conversation was spent trying to get home to our respective countries safely. However, in spite of all of this we did manage a very successful meeting where we discussed the opportunities and challenges presented by the collecting of patient outcome data in our respective countries. We discussed what we are each collecting, how we collect it and what individually and collectively we can do with this data to define and promote private physiotherapy. This was a day of very interesting discussion and although we learnt that we have very different drivers, processes, funding, and healthcare systems there are also some common themes. The IPPTA Executive members will be sharing the notes from this meeting and some conclusions with MOs soon and I am sure you will all forgive and understand the delay in achieving this. We feel there is sufficient synergy in our approaches to help us move towards IPTTA’s strategic aims.”  Pam Simpson IPPTA Vice-Chair.


On the 14th March Grant Driver from Captivate International facilitated a workshop on Advocacy and Leadership. The feedback received from those who could attend was very positive.  The workshop gave us new insight and tools to be effective advocates and leaders within our own professional associations to the benefit of our profession and our members.  Grant gave the following feedback:

Malta 2020 will forever rain a wonderful experience in my heart, spent with he IPPTA delegates.  I was immensely grateful for the opportunity to connect with these professionals and to be taken so warmly into their fold.  I found the delegates to be passionate and dedicated to their profession which has left such a positive impression in my mind and I have developed a huge regard for the profession and the professionals who tirelessly work to make a difference in their patients’  lives.” 

Thanks to all our IPPTA Corporate Partners

for their ongoing support towards IPPTA and Private Physiotherapy Globally.

Without their financial support IPPTA would not be able to provide affordable value for our members.


On the 20th of May 2020 we organised a virtual meeting with our members. The aim of this meeting was to touch base with each other and share the experiences and effects that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on private physiotherapy globally.    From the feedback received it can be summarized that this pandemic has a negative effect on the business of private physiotherapy in most of the regions due to the following reason:

  • Lock-down of private practices with a decrease in normal patient numbers
    • when allowed to gradually re-open patient’s numbers are still low due:
      • to fear of patients visiting outpatient practices
      • decrease in elective surgeries

it was interesting to hear all the different supportive initiatives that the associations have implemented for their members during this time and the appreciation that their members have for all these efforts.

The positive spin of is that the majority of private associations are seeing an increase in their membership.

We are planning another virtual meeting in September 2020 to continue the discussions around data registries and also the impact of COVID 19 on private physiotherapy practice.

IPPTA GM and Business Meeting 2021.  It is my pleasure to announce that we will be meeting in Finland in 2021.  The specific date and venue will still be finalised, but it would most likely be in the last quarter of 2021.

You have a critical role in helping others get through these times. At the same time, the challenges they bring will shape you and allow you to grow as a leader. Emotional intelligence will be at the forefront of this growth and worth the investment.

Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.

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