Clients Talk

I work with complex patients who often have a long history of partial – recovery despite excellent physio input. I was exploring new ways I might help my patients that would be different from strategies used before.   I was (and still am) interested in using motivational interviewing to help with behaviour change. Annette’s course was a fabulous starting point into this interesting area. Her course content was very well presented, clear and very usable from day one. It is one of those courses that will change the way you practice for the better.
I found Annette’s communication training very helpful as a new graduate. This gave me some great strategies for communicating with both patients and co-workers alike. I look forward to implementing this in my private practice work.
EMILYPhysiotherapist (new grad)
The “Building Skills and Resilience To Handle Difficult Conversations” course helped to open my eyes to how to view, prepare and encourage conversations to generate greater change – and therefore greater results. I feel equipped with multiple strategies that not only enhance my communication with patients, but on a general day-to-day basis. The practical element of doing this via zoom is brilliant and means you have time between sessions to review and practice/implement. Thanks Annette.
I have been fortunate enough to have completed a number of short courses over the years to help develop my communication skill. Many I have left with minimal practical skills that I can utilise in daily life. Annette’s course “Crucial Conversations” has given me both the theoretical knowledge and the practical skills that I can use immediately in the clinic with patients and also in private life. Her ideas are explained in a way that repeatedly left me with the ‘ah ha” moment that made perfect sense. I was able to practice these concepts with other participants in the breakout sessions and discuss the practical implications. This has definitely helped me to retain the information and apply it long term.
TOM HINDBAUGHPhysiotherapist and practice owner
My name is Chris Fawcett and I run a Physiotherapy Practice in Brisbane.  Our clinic sees a high percentage of patients who often struggle with defining their goals for treatment and may have had issues in the past with healthcare providers (both real and perceived).  To improve the overall experience of patients visiting our clinic, and to improve my team’s communication skillset, I asked Annette to assist with the training of my 5-person team. Annette was contracted to provide an 8-session communications course in 2020 – via online and in-person platforms.  The course taught my team about the importance of framing questions to receive the best information in the shortest time, the concept of “how to ask a better question”, and also strategies for identifying patients who need extra help in getting motivation to change… among many other concepts! Overall, her training has assisted my staff and I to define a patients’ real reason for seeking treatment sooner in the treatment regimen, and therefore gives my staff the confidence to tailor the best treatment for that individual patient… regardless of time it will take.  It has also given my team far more confidence in handling “difficult” conversations both at the front desk and in the treatment room. Our patients have noticed the difference in confidence across my team – I am receiving more unsolicited positive feedback from patients than ever before about my team’s demeanour, empathy and clinical skillset.  The key to most positive clinical outcomes is eliciting a change in a person’s mindset to complete the tasks set, and Annette’s course was excellent in guiding patients on how to do just that. Our treatment/client ration has improved from practice average of 1-3/patient to 7-10/patient and both the therapists and patients are happy. Annette’s long-term experience certainly comes to the fore during her presentations and I would very much recommend Annette and her services.
CHRIS FAWCETTPhysiotherapist and Practice owner in Brisbane
Late last year I met with Annette Tonkin for the first time and we got on well. I sent one of my junior physios on her communication course. Within days I heard the physio being more assertive and direct with patients and she felt  already more confident. I have now signed up 6 physios to work with Annette. The course is a no brainer and a great deal so don’t muck around!
NICK SCHUSTERPhysiotherapist and practice owner
I recently had the pleasure of meeting and working with Annette Tonkin. As an owner of a group of practices in Physiotherapy, my partner and I are constantly looking for ways to improve customer service, clinical outcomes and our clinics success. I wish I had of participated in one of Annette’s workshops 20 years ago! I was delighted with her 3-hour presentation to our 25+ practitioners in our group! Just magic stuff! For anyone working in private practice her seminars are a must! Annette is an asset to our profession! Contact her and you won’t be disappointed.
Antony HirstPhysiotherapy Director
Annette’s information is interesting, innovative and highly useful to the Physiotherapy profession, I learned many useful skills to use with my patients to help them achieve better goals in their rehabilitation. Her coaching style is friendly and professional, she has a wealth of knowledge that you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere and she is able to help in many areas of clinical practice.
AndrewPerth Physiotherapist
Our paths first crossed in the early 1980s when we were both clinical physiotherapists and postgraduate students. In the early years of her development, Ms Tonkin was regarded highly for her clinical skills and performance as a postgraduate student. Since, Ms Tonkin has gone on and become an internationally recognised authority in the multifaceted topic of language in health-care. Not surprisingly, there was no hesitation inviting Ms Tonkin to present in the plenary sessions and workshops at the Watson Headache® Institute’s inaugural national symposium in Sydney in 2016; the feedback was such that Ms Tonkin was invited and presented again in 2017, both as a platform, workshop and pre symposium course presenter. On both occasions, Ms Tonkin met deadlines required of the organisers.  Her presentations were of the highest standard, relevant and thought provoking with discussion going on into the refreshment breaks and the evening.  Ms Tonkin’s presentations were stimulating and received enthusiastically.  Despite the provocative (i.e. challenging established thinking) nature of the workshops, participants expressed their appreciation for Ms Tonkin’s collaborative, inclusive and unassuming style as they were presented with new perspectives. Ms Tonkin’s area of expertise is undoubtedly neglected.  Ms Tonkin’s unrivalled clinical experience, subsequent relevant (language) post-graduate studies amply qualifies her to present on this chasm in the health professions.  Her professional, down-to-earth manner creates a strong learning environment, as Ms Tonkin questions participants’ language-use in a non-threatening style.
Dr Dean H Watson, PhDDirector, Watson Headache® Institute
As a student, I was told the importance of communication with patients, but I was never really taught at Uni how to communicate. Not only did Annette consolidate the importance of communication, but she also taught us strategies we could implement immediately into our conversations with our patients. I had an acute placement soon after the lecture and I was able to apply the strategy of giving direct instructions because, in an acute scenario, patients can deteriorate quite quickly and so the treatment needs to be immediate. I also learned how this strategy wouldn’t work in a different cohort of patients – for example, patients with osteoarthritis awaiting surgery. With these patients, behaviour change plays a major role and behaviour change cannot be achieved through direct instruction.
Basant ChanaUniversity of Sydney, new graduate
Annette has been the greatest mentor I could have ever wished for. I am still in awe of the generosity & selflessness I received from her to this day. I have had the opportunity to mentor others since however it will be a long time before I am ever going to be able to match the level of knowledge & experience she gave me.
Liam MuldoonDirector, Life FORCE Strength and Fitness Training
Being a pelvic floor physiotherapist, building rapport, creating an open and safe environment, as well as ensuring great communication are all essential to ensure the best rehabilitation process. Annette provided wonderful advice to further develop these skills and great guidance on how to approach difficult topics. Will be recommending her service and mentorship to others in this area!
Jemma WilliamsPelvic Floor Physiotherapist
I work with complex patients who often have long histories of partial-recovery despite excellent physio input. I was exploring new ways I might help my patients that would be different from strategies used before. I was (and still am) interested in using motivational interviewing to help with behaviour change. Annette’s course was a fabulous starting point into this interesting area. Her course content is very well presented, clear and very useable from day 1. It is one of those courses that will change the way you practice for the better.”   I thoroughly enjoyed the communication course that I completed with Annette. I learned about a lot about communication errors that practitioners (including myself) make and not only how to rectify this, but why it is important to communicate properly/intentionally with patients. Learning over the 5 week period gave me a chance to take in a bit of information, put it in to practice and ask relevant questions in the next session.   As a result, my communication with patients has become more purposeful and valuable, and I can see that I’m helping people to not only navigate Physiotherapy but themselves as well. I am learning when it is appropriate to have anatomical/biomechanical/pathoanatomical discussions with patients, and when it’s time/best to delve deeper into a patients’ thoughts, behaviours and values to help them move forward. It’s no use having an abundance of knowledge if you can’t communicate properly to patients. I would highly recommend this course to any practitioner looking to improve and add invaluable skills to their toolkit.
Annette’s online Communication skills course was an excellent way for me to reflect on and improve my communication in the clinic. This is especially important now with more telehealth consultations happening in addition to face to face. The small group work and homework tasks made consolidation of the information much easier. I’d highly recommend this course.
Annette’s workshops are fantastic! I recently participated in an online workshop via Zoom, which was very handy given I am based in Perth and would not have been able to attend otherwise. I was unsure how effective a workshop would be via video compared to in-person, but it was hugely beneficial regardless of the medium it was delivered. Being a fairly new physiotherapy graduate, I learnt from my undergraduate studies the importance of helping our patients in making behaviour changes, but I did not feel I learnt the skills to do this. Annette explains what is involved in making behaviour changes and then provides scenario-based learning and gives strategies to assist in making these changes. I have already implemented some of the strategies in clinical practice and have noticed positive changes to patient compliance and treatment/rehab outcomes. Given our jobs as physiotherapists rely hugely on effective communication, Annette’s workshops are a must!
The “Building Skills and Resilience To Handle Difficult Conversations” course gives lots of insight into our own thought process, building self-confidence to manage anxiety or talk with anxious patient about any difficult conversations at work. I learned many strategies around managing difficult conversations either with a patient or in a team.
Two of my young physios were involved in this course and loved it. Not only did they enjoy it, but they were able to network with other physiotherapists and learn lots! I noticed an improvement in their communication and understanding of clients. Thank you to Annette for creating a course to help our physiotherapists develop their skills and confidence.
AMELIAPhysiotherapist Business Owner
As a new graduate, I can’t rate this course highly enough. Going into the course, my confidence was gradually improving however completing the course allowed me to increase my confidence and communication with clients exponentially. Thanks Annette!
Being a pelvic floor physiotherapist, building rapport, creating an open and safe environment, as well as ensuring great communication are all essential to ensure the best rehabilitation process. Annette provided wonderful advice to further develop these skills and great guidance on how to approach difficult topics. Will be recommending her service and mentorship to others in this area!
JEMMAPelvic floor Physiotherapist
As the owner of a business, I am looking for ways to improve patient retention and outcomes of attending Physiotherapy. Annette is an expert at Therapist Patient communication. The course taught me how better communication leads to improved outcomes. I was given simple tools to communicate what needs to be done in Physiotherapy to receive value. Annette breaks done communication strategies Physiotherapists can use to best help patients to achieve lasting results from Physiotherapy.
As a physiotherapist and director of several clinics, I not only wanted the best outcomes for my clients, I wanted to ensure that all of the therapists working within my clinics were able to communicate effectively with their patients, to understand the patients’ needs xxx to get clear treatment plans and to get great results for their clients. Annette’s extensive knowledge of NLP and her application of this in the clinical setting gave me useful communication and rapport building skills, with both the director to employee relationship and the therapist to client relationship. We have now implemented some key aspects of rapport building, congruency and goal setting with our tailored Health Plan and treatment progressions. This has resulted in increased therapist confidence, improved client compliance and better patient outcomes. From a business perspective it has resulted in great patient return rates, busier appointment diaries and happy staff! I highly recommend Annette’s training programs to any therapist in the clinical setting and to any business owner wanting to improve customer service and business operations.
LISA WILSONPhysiotherapist, Owner and Director Beleura Health Solutions
Having been in the physiotherapy profession for many years, it never ceases to amaze me how the path to becoming great therapists is a never-ending learning process. Continuing education has evolved to be so much more than courses on clinical conditions and treatment techniques. While we know the client will benefit from our applied knowledge, experience shows us we are often unsuccessful in gaining the long-term results for which we strive. We need to have a much broader awareness of cognitive behaviour, personalities and understanding of the individual. Annette Tonkin provided our team with valuable information enhancing our awareness of the influence language and consulting styles can enhance or diminish our results. Her excellent presentation gave our staff both knowledge and tools to immediately apply in the clinical setting. All therapists need to develop and continue to improve their relationship skills and I thoroughly recommend Annette’s input to all health professionals striving to improve
Max KavanaghDirector, Back In Motion Brighton
We recently attended Annette’s course and learnt about some useful strategies to engage clients who find the perennial reasons to not comply with therapy or exercises. It was something I wish I’d learnt years ago. Realising that it isn’t my job to cajole a client but rather to help facilitate understanding the impediments to keeping up with a program was valuable. I know my team @ Back In Motion Woodville felt the same.
Steve RoddaPhysiotherapist - Back In Motion
Annette has extensive professional knowledge and expertise that extends beyond sports physiotherapy. Her passion has always been to apply a broad range of initiatives and also maintain a level of comprehension on the most up to date research in the area of rehabilitation. She applies and retains a caring approach best described as superior to any other allied health care professional I have ever known.
Jan StirlingOlympic Coach Women’s Basketball 2004, 2008 & 2012
I went along to the workshop run by Return To Work SA in August out of support and expecting a bit of fluffy talk re psych etc but you married the practicality of approach, questioning, metacognition, and adapting to the situation really well. Lots of take-homes and start-tomorrow stuff. I’ve not seen the practicality of the interview method so well presented. New approaches for old problems. It all made a LOT of sense.
Mark Mitchell Physiotherapist South Australia

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