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An Introduction To The Integrated Systems Model (ISM) For The Complex Patient

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An Introduction To The Integrated Systems Model (ISM) For The Complex Patient

An Introduction To The Integrated Systems Model (ISM) For The Complex Patient

This course includes
1:05:43 of Course Material (View)
Lifetime access after purchase
Certificate of completion
This course was recorded in December 2019


No study to date has demonstrated a direct relationship between pathology and pain for any pain related condition (Clauw, 2015). Neither the presence or absence of pain nor the intensity of pain can be accurately predicted by the presence or absence of pathology (Catley, Moseley, & Jones, 2019).

So how do you know when to treat what in any individual with multiple impairments and persistent pain?

Research-supported management efficacy is still lacking for most clinical problems; therefore, skilled reasoning is the clinicians' best tool to minimize the risk of mis-management and over-servicing (Jones & Rivett, 2019). Clinical experience and the evidence suggests that clinical reasoning and individualized assessment and treatment are required for best outcomes.

The Integrated Systems Model (ISM) is an evidence-informed, clinical reasoning framework to optimize strategies for function and performance. 

In this one hour online course, physiotherapists Diane Lee and Nicole Sullivan will discuss models that consider the interdependence of body regions. They will present a synopsis of the current evidence on motor control, posture, movement, and the neuroscience of pain that informs the ISM approach.

Learn online on your schedule and time, and come back as often as you like to review the material. 


Learning Objectives

In this online course, we will learn:

  • Principles of motor control and pain
  • Principles of the ISM approach
  • An outline of the clinical reasoning framework
  • Where to begin with a complex patient 
  • How to change the story and determine meaningful tasks
  • An introduction to individualized assessments and treatment plans for the whole person
  • Specific tests and clinical reasoning used to determine relationships between impaired regions
  • How to find the "driver" and determine the underlying system impairment(s) whether articular, neural, myofascial, and/or visceral
  • How to develop individualized treatment programs based on the patients' meaningful tasks and goals



This online course is for Physiotherapists (Physical Therapists), Chiropractors, Osteopaths and any other healthcare providers or movement specialists who are interested in learning an evidence-informed, clinical reasoning framework that they can use with their patients.

The instructors
Diane Lee

Diane graduated with distinction from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor degree in the Science of Rehabilitation in 1976. She has been a member of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association since 1976 and a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Therapy since 1981 (FCAMT). She completed  certification in Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) in 2001, Yoga teacher training in 2012, pelvic floor certification in 2013 and was recognized by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association as a clinical specialist in Woman’s Health in 2016.

She was an instructor and a chief examiner for the Orthopaedic Division of CPA’s fellowship examinations (CAMT) for over 20 years and has extensive experience in curriculum development both for the CAMT program and her own series of courses.

She is well published (books, chapters and journal articles) and the innovator of two pelvic support belts for which she holds the patent; The Com-Pressor and the Baby Belly Pelvic Support (

Diane owns, directs and is a practicing physiotherapist at Diane Lee & Associates She has continued to maintain an on-going clinical practice for over 40 years and while she follows the research evidence closely, she draws from this deep clinical experience for her teaching and lecturing in the clinic, in Canada and internationally.

Diane has had the honour of collaborating with local, national and worldwide authorities to further her own education and integrates this knowledge into courses/models she teaches.  Her combined clinical and education experience culminated in the co-development of The Integrated Systems Model for Disability & Pain (ISM), (Lee Diane & Lee Linda-Joy 2007 – 2013) the model she continues to teach and now solely evolve under the abbreviated title – the Integrated Systems Model – alongside her senior assistants from Diane Lee & Associates.

Nicole Sullivan
Owner, Co-Director & Registered Physiotherapist at [mend]physio + Therapy Lead at Volleyball Canada Beach National Team
Nicole is a physiotherapist, strength and conditioning specialist, lead therapist with Volleyball Canada’s Beach National Team, and co-founder of [mend]physio. An avid learner, she has studied and taught with many teachers in a variety of settings, but continues to learn the most from her patients and their stories. She uses an individualized, evidence informed approach in clinical practice, and is passionate about patient empowerment, simplifying complex concepts, and understanding the barriers to knowledge translation in physiotherapy education and practice.
Course Material included in this course
  • Highlight Free
  • Highlight - Listening
  • An Introduction To The Integrated Systems Model For The Complex Patient
  • Welcome to the Course!
  • Introductions
  • Overview
  • Motor Control
  • The Integrated Systems Model
  • Changing the Story
  • System Impairments
  • Goals of Treatment
  • Final Comments
  • Quiz
  • Feedback

This course is free for Embodia Members. You can learn more about the membership options available by visiting the Embodia membership pricing page.

Once you have completed the course, a certificate of completion (including learning hours and course information) will be generated. You can download this certificate at any time. To learn more about course certificates on Embodia please visit this guide.

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