We had the good fortune of connecting with Emma Faulkner and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Emma, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
Most people are unaware of extensive training required to become a physical therapist. Often people think a physical therapist is just like a personal trainer or that a physical therapist is the same as a massage therapist. Both of those are not true. Physical therapists graduating today will graduate with a clinical doctorate degree. That means 4 years of undergraduate training followed by an additional 3 years of graduate school training at the very minimum to become a PT. Some physical therapists also undergo additional residency and fellowship training if they want to specialize in one particular area of treatment. For example, I graduated with my Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from Emory University in 2015 then continued on to complete a residency in orthopedic physical therapy from Mercer University in 2017. It’s important for people to understand the education that is required to become a PT. This doctoral education means that physical therapists are experts in movement analysis, biomechanical analysis, exercise prescription, and numerous manual therapy techniques to address the neuromusculoskeletal system. PTs are also trained to pick up on other, more sinister, medical issues that can look like musculoskeletal pain. PTs are also involved in preventative care, performance enhancement for athletes, and many other areas of medicine.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My practice, TriHealth Physical Therapy and Performing Arts Consulting, is an out-of-network physical therapy practice that specializes in treating dancers, performing artists, athletes, and a general active population. TriHealth also consults with dance companies, studios, choreographers or other artistic groups to achieve and maintain optimal health for their performing artists. Starting an out-of-network physical therapy practice with such a niche specialty was not easy. It took a lot of courage to open up without knowing I’d have a steady stream of clients to keep the business afloat. One of the challenges of my practice is that it is out-of-network, which means that I don’t go through any medical insurances. For many people this is an immediate turn off, but for me and my clients, it is hugely helpful. Most commercial insurances have significant restrictions on how much physical therapy they will “approve” or cover which really limits treatment plans for complex clients. Insurances often will “cut people off” from therapy when they have achieved some ill-defined measure of “healed” regardless of whether or not the patient is actually recovered or healed and back to their usual activities. This is very common among dancers and performing artists which may need to be able to do flips, stand on their toes, balance on one arm or do some other exceedingly challenging physical feat. Often insurance companies will not cover the required specialized physical therapy needed to get these athletes and artists back to work or performing. By keeping my practice out-of-network I can bypass many of these constraints and be sure my patients are getting the highly specialized care that they need to get back to their specific athletic endeavor or art form. I have learned since opening my business is be confident and very open when talking with potential clients/patients about my services. I know that being out-of-network can be a potential turn off when talking with a new client until I explain how this could actually be to their benefit. I have become much more confident in explaining how my care is different from most in-network care for performing artists. At TriHealth all care is completely one-on-one which allows for the highest level of personalization to the treatment plan. I have also participated in many of the art forms and athletic endeavors that my patients do, so that gives me an insiders perspective on the unique physical demands and also allows me to “talk the talk.” And lastly, I constantly an involved in learning new and innovative techniques and I attend conferences specific to the performing arts world as both learner and presenter and I bring these techniques to all of my TriHealth clients as soon as possible.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m an avid hiker so we would definitely go to some of my favorite in town hiking spots. We would likely hike Morningside Nature Preserve, Lullwater park on Emory University’s campus, and then go a little out of town to Arabia Mountain or Sweetwater Creek State Park. I also really enjoy the arts. We would see Atlanta Ballet or Terminus Modern Ballet Theater perform, go to the High Musuem, and see the outdoor artwork all along the Beltline. For food, it’s hard to go wrong with all the great choices in Atlanta. Some of the lesser know spots that I really enjoy is Gaja Korean Bar in East Atlanta, Sprig in Decatur and Woody’s Cheesesteaks by Piedmont Park.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people that I would like the dedicate this to; my husband, my mentors, my teachers and all the people that supported me through this process! Thank you all! I’d also like to dedicate this shoutout to all the people who said that I COULD NOT do it! I am so grateful for the naysayers, haters, and people who doubted I’d be able to do all the things that I am now doing. These folks pushed me to prove myself, to be confident in myself, and to never quit even when things were hard! If it weren’t for many of these people, I would not be where I am today!

Website: trihealthphysicaltherapy.com

Instagram: @trihealthpt

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TriHealthPT/

Image Credits
Synapse Photography

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