Skip to main content

The Biopsychosocial Model & Manual Therapy: Conflict or Collaboration?

The Biopsychosocial Model & Manual Therapy: Conflict or Collaboration?

The Biopsychosocial Model & Manual Therapy: Conflict or Collaboration?

This course includes
1:02:26 of Course Material (View)
Lifetime access after purchase
Certificate of completion

Course Description

In response to past and present developments within the physiotherapy profession, this course presents a thorough examination of both manual therapy and the Biopsychosocial (BPS) model.

The material presented here examines and considers factors such as historical and contemporary contexts, asking why we might still consider using manual therapy, how we might frame manual therapy in an evidence-informed fashion, rationales for why to use either manual therapy and/or the BPS model, and how to consider expanding relevant clinical testing.

Furthermore, this course will not only answer whether or not the BPS model and manual therapy are in conflict with each other but it will also provide clinical vignettes that assist with understanding the presented material from an evaluation and treatment standpoint.

Finally, this course will provide a general framework through which clinicians can begin to improve their ability to develop sufficiently robust and targeted care plans.


Course Objectives

  1. Become familiar with historical and contemporary contexts as they relate to both manual therapy and the Biopsychosocial model
  2. Understand why clinicians might consider using both manual therapy and the Biopsychosocial model
  3. Review three different frameworks that provide evidence informed understandings for how physical touch can impact patients
  4. Become familiar with methods to increase testing that is related to the Biopsychosocial model
  5. Review and comprehend two clinical scenarios that highlight the interconnected nature of biological, psychological, and social variables from an evaluation and management standpoint.
  6. Learn about a framework that can assist in the development of a sufficiently robust and targeted patient-centered plan



This online course is for physiotherapists, physiotherapist assistants, chiropractors, massage therapists, physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, patients, and anyone else interested in understanding how manual therapies and physical touch, as well as the Biopsychosocial model, relate to contemporary clinical practice.

The instructors
Stephen Shaffer

Dr. Shaffer is a bilingual (English-Spanish) clinical specialist, educator, and scientist with seventeen years of experience in the physiotherapy profession. After graduating with a master’s degree in physiotherapy he went on to complete residency, fellowship, and academic doctoral training in advanced orthopedics. Initially, he spent years traveling the United States as a traveling physiotherapist but currently works in private practice in Ontario, Canada. During his career he has specialized in the evaluation and management of spinal, extremity, jaw, and headache disorders. Additionally, his professional experience has involved extensive time managing chronic pain as well as both complex and rare cases. In clinical practice he places an emphasis on research-informed evaluation and management as well as manual therapy, clinical reasoning, and shared decision-making. Dr. Shaffer prides himself on making sound decisions on behalf of his patients and strives to ensure that they gain maximal benefit from their healthcare experiences.

In addition to clinical practice, Dr. Shaffer is a researcher with experience on topics related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and advanced practice physiotherapy rights. He also has experience teaching post-professional courses on cervical spine, jaw, and headache disorders. Currently, he is an active member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT; and is credentialed through the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (CAMPT; When not busy with these activities, Dr. Shaffer leads a team of contributors for the AAOMPT Podcast (, an interview show that addresses a wide array of topics related to orthopedics, and serves as a peer reviewer for an array of scientific journals.

Course Material included in this course
  • Handout - The Biopsychosocial Model & Manual Therapy: Conflict or Collaboration?
  • Handout - The Biopsychosocial Model & Manual Therapy - Conflict or Collaboration?
  • Video Lectures - Introduction
  • Part 1 - Introduction
  • Part 2 - Historical & Contemporary Contexts
  • Feedback
  • Video Lectures - Manual Therapy
  • Part 3 - Why Even Use Manual Therapy?
  • Part 4 - Creating a Framework for Manual Therapy
  • Feedback
  • Video Lectures - The Biopsychosocial Model
  • Part 5 - Why Even Use a Biopsychosocial (BPS) Approach?
  • Part 6 - Putting More “Bio” in the BPS Model
  • Feedback
  • Video Lectures - The Biopsychosocial Model & Manual Therapy: Conflict or Collaboration?
  • Part 7 - The BPS Model & Manual Therapy – Conflict or Collaboration?
  • Part 8 - Clinical Scenarios – BPS Management Overlap
  • Part 9 - Developing a Sufficiently Robust and Targeted Plan
  • Feedback
  • Video Lectures - Conclusions & Feedback
  • Part 10 - Conclusions
  • Feedback
© 2024 Embodia