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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Introduction: This review paper identifies and describes the role of clinicians' memory, emotions and physical responses in clinical reasoning processes. Clinical reasoning is complex and multi-factorial and key models of clinical reasoning within musculoskeletal physiotherapy are discussed, highlighting the omission of emotion and subsequent physical responses and how these can impact upon a clinician when making a decision. Discussion: It is proposed that clinicians should consider the emotions associated with decision-making, especially when there is concern surrounding a presentation. Reflecting on practice in the clinical environment and subsequently applying this to a patient presentation should involve some acknowledgement of clinicians' physical responses, emotions and how they may play a part in any decision made. Presenting intuition and gut-feeling as separate reasoning methods and how these processes co-exist with other more accepted reasoning such as hypothetico-deductive is also discussed. Conclusion: Musculoskeletal physiotherapy should consider the elements of feelings, emotions and physical responses when applying reflective practice principles. Furthermore, clinicians dealing with difficult and challenging presentations should look at the emotional as well as the analytical experience when justifying decisions and learning from practice.

Original publication




Journal article


Manual Therapy

Publication Date





277 - 281