A short summary of the AMT Virtual Conference 2020

As experienced by Sharon Livingstone

AMT Chairperson, Michelle McKerron pops onto my screen right on schedule and provides Acknowledgement of Country. I’m on Cammeraygal and acknowledge elders past, present and emerging. Michelle’s hair looking quite normal. AMT CEO Rebecca Barnett pops in for a quick bit of housekeeping … eventually. Think she was doing actual housework.

Mary O’Keeffe is beamed in from rural Ireland with not the greatest of web connectivity. Here to talk about low back pain labelling. Mary did some research on this.

Mary tells us what labels people really don’t respond positively to and ones that we might consider adopting.

Best summary provided by a delegate but Mary really likes it:

It’s easy to give a label but difficult to remove it.”

Next up: My favourite kind of exercise – watching someone else doing it! Joking – oh, but there’s a technical hitch with the exercise snack.

Moving along, there’s an exhibit roulette featuring everyone’s favourite hero, Liz Sharkey talking about her Massage Training Australia business. There’s a giveaway of gift vouchers for MTA to the best “dietary requirements” requests for the virtual conference. Remind me to keep away from whoever suggested the souls of the damned as a mid-afternoon snack.

Cheers Liz!
(Not a picture of Liz)

Woah! Don’t go anywhere, Elizabeth Sharkey. The AMT Board send a few of us to our tissue box (or our hanky in my case) by surprising Liz with AMT Life Membership. This honours the selfless donation of megahours of her time to help AMT members get training, resources and support during bushfires and COVID-19 and her volunteer work for the AMT Biosecurity Committee. Bloody legend, Liz Sharkey. A most deserved honour for a very good egg.

I need a moment.

During the official morning tea break (I had mine during the technical issues earlier), we listen as Katie Snell and Rebecca Barnett try to troubleshoot the exercise snack. Oh, they know we can hear them. We expected more swearing and are disappointed. Rebecca tossed a glass of water over her computer in an effort to help the situation. Would have been better if it were tea, then there definitely would have been swearing. No one likes to waste a cup of tea.

Angie Clerc-Hawke is talkin’ ’bout a revolution – oh, Angie is from Pain Revolution, who bring together researchers, peak bodies, pain patients and clinicians to provide all Australians with the “knowledge, skills and support to prevent and overcome persistent pain”. Angie encourages massage therapists to be pain coaches for our clients and to provide person-centred care.

(Read about the time AMT helped out Pain Revolution and forgive me for stealing the title.)

These exercise snacks are great. I get a snack – blueberries and almonds – and watch people exercise.

Tim Clark discloses that he skipped both the exercise and the snack. Then launches his soothing, calming, gentle voice to guide us on a mindful meditation focused on self-compassion and compassion for others. I think Tim might have a side-hustle on YouTube in his future. I am calm and focused.

The lunch break (I’ve got a baguette from my local boulangerie) is an opportunity to re-watch The Famous Debate from the 2016 AMT Conference, starring me rambling about eudyptula minor and sex, quoting George Michael. Aran Bright argued well for the opposition, Colin Rossie brought in his daily supply of Coke and Rebecca Barnett discussing Romeo and Juliet and, for some reason, quoting Polonius from Hamlet.

It’s time for a hit of HIIT with Shelley Keating. “The best type of exercise is the one you enjoy and will commit to in the long term”. Shelley fills us with a lot of information. Pity we didn’t have more time. Shelley is the one who has guided us with the exercise snacks.

Monique from AMT’s preferred insurer, Fenton Green, is in the hotseat for rapid fire questions. Ooh, there are some doozies. Monique suggests that the best thing to do is contact your broker (Fenton Green) if you’re selling products, running a workshop or someone makes a claim against you or … well, just contact your broker, as Scott Lloyd-Owen points out. Data breaches are an emerging risk with the move to online/digital records – contact your broker. Oh, and if you’re an AMT member, you have proven that you have appropriate training and there are no pesky *’s if you treat a client who is pregnant. In breaking news, Fenton Green are in final i dotting and t crossing with a new underwriter, who will provide online renewals (yay). Aaaaand, personal injury cover is coming to a policy near you – STAY TUNED (this is probably the most exciting/relief-inducing news of the day).

I enjoy a pain aux raisins while everyone exercises.

Alison Sim enters our screens to discuss motivational interviewing. Alison runs us through what to do when a client isn’t motivated to change their behaviours to improve their health. How to ask open ended questions and listen to our clients. Alison reminds us that reflection is not just that thing we see in the mirror. We need to build self-efficacy for our clients. Great presentation. Could have listened for another hour.

Derek Zorzit tells us to get up and do some stretching. What, no snacks?

The session I’ve been looking forward to all day has arrived. The no nonsense Daniel Wonnocott on managing the treatment environment. So much goodness in this session. If you missed, it, please pay for a copy of it – worth every Euro. Covers how to change our treatment approach away from what we were taught in college (hey, I don’t even remember that long ago). Dan covers the role of nerves and our nervous system in pain perception and how a client’s mental state can impact on how they respond to a treatment. Seriously, pay for this session when it’s released.

Damn, that time went too quickly.

Comments have been flying up on the screen from delegates all day. Looks like everyone has really enjoyed the information and presenters and have learnt a lot (I have too).

Michelle McKerron is back. She has learnt so much today that her hair has grown and turned hot pink. Michelle thanks everyone for their presentations and attendance.

And that’s all folks for another year. We all wave at our screens, forgetting that our cameras aren’t turned on.

I’m off to get a snack.


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