An interview with David Butler

By Timothy Cocks Education for all 24 Feb 2016

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Back in November last year, David Butler once again took Explain Pain and Graded Motor Imagery to New Zealand, with courses in Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown. David wrote a short Thanks New Zealand post, highlighting his positive experience

“Kiwis cut right through the bullshit! New Zealand is no place for pretensions. We think Kiwis have just what it needs to take on Explain Pain and Graded Motor Imagery.

It is exciting and heart-warming to meet clinicians with such a deep and humble understanding of what we are trying to do.”

While there, David was interviewed for Physio Matters a publication of Physiotherapy New Zealand. PNZ have very kindly given us permission to reproduce the interview on NOIjam. You can access the full article by clicking on the image below.

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Here are a few quick highlights:

“A common misconception is that EP throws out biology and biomedical models to focus only on the psychosocial. In fact this seems to be a growing trend in some geographical regions and certain sectors – especially online and in social media. However, an accurate conception is that EP is a pragmatic application of the biopsychosocial model of pain – the bio, the biology and even some aspects of the biomedical, is still there and is absolutely essential.”

“Another misconception is that helping people experiencing persistent pain is about managing pain. I think we can do better- I think our goal should be to treat pain and that we can and should lift our expectations that pain can, and will, change.”

“And to pick one final misconception, it is that EP relates to chronic pain only. It doesn’t – EP relates to all pain. There is some exciting research getting underway looking at using EP to help prevent chronic pain and my hope is that this will help put an end to the thinking that EP should only be introduced when people ‘go chronic’.”

“Repeated deep listening and reflection on a patient’s story is probably the best way. I often think that a clinician is on the way to biopsychosocial thinking when they realise that the problem their patient has, is likely to a problem in society as a whole.”

“I want practitioners to peer ahead. Opportunity beckons everywhere. For example there are the new sciences of plasticity and neuroimmunology, there is an aging population, there are new scientifically exposed needs for modern physiotherapy such as pain in neurological disease, high pain prevalence in adolescents, new understanding linking and merging mental and physical aspects of disease.”

Our thanks again to Physiotherapy New Zealand and Physio Matters for the permission to use the interview here.


If you’re a Kiwi who missed out on the sold out New Zealand courses or an Aussie wanting to have the Explain Pain and Graded Motor Imagery experience for yourself, we’ve got an action packed Australian teaching tour happening in 2016

Townsville April 29-May 1 EP & GMI

Canberra* at the Australian Institute of Sport May 3-4 Monis, May 6-8 EP & GMI

Adelaide May 14-15 Pain, Plasticity and Rehabilitation

Noosa June 17-19 EP and GMI

Perth** October 15-17 EP&GMI

*Final details and flyer available in coming weeks.

**Send us an enquiry from our courses page to be the first to be notified


  1. Never before, in the history of medicine has so much been given by so few to so many. I am eternally grateful to NOI and feel, in the latter years of my career that I can, at last unravel just about anything that comes through the door……..🤕🤕🤕
    London ❄️🌤🌨

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