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Clinical Mentorship in the Integrated Systems Model

Course description

For many years Diane has been asked by course participants to provide clinical mentorship. In the past, her courses have been theoretical, practical and often of short duration (2-4 days). While these do provide an understanding of her clinical approach as well as some introductory skills; Diane’s experience with mentoring her associates is that clinical consultation over an extended period of time is required to consolidate learning, enhance palpation skills, and accelerate the integration of newly learned theoretical and practical material into clinical practice.

In 2007, a ‘series’ of three 5-day courses was introduced and while this series improved clinicians’ understanding of the the material taught, many still lacked confidence in their palpation and clinical reasoning skills.

The “ISM Series – Clinical Mentorship in the Integrated Systems Model” continues to evolve from the Discover Physio Series that Diane co-developed.  Completion of the ISM Series is part 1 of the certification process whereby Diane will use her extensive past experience as Chief Examiner for the Orthopaedic Division of CPA to evaluate and enhance the practitioner’s knowledge and skills.


Join Diane, and her team of highly skilled assistants, on this mentorship journey and immerse yourself in a series of education opportunities that will improve your clinical efficacy for treating the whole person using the updated Integrated Systems Model.  If you want MORE mentorship, check out the in-house program at Diane Lee & Associates (physiotherapy clinic) that accompanies the ISM Series for two individuals every year.

This is a hybrid program that expects you to commit to 2 hours of personal time each week over a 6-8 month period to complete:

  1. the extensive online course work (lectures, short videos and reading assignments)
  2. three 4.5 day in-class parts

This hybrid format and time commitment to the material will provide you with the skills and clinical reasoning necessary to put this approach into your clinical practice.

Your clinical reasoning skills will be honed not only through the in-class practical sessions but also through on-going daily support provided through a special group and forum on this website that is directed by both Diane and the teaching team.

  • Part 1 introduces the basic principles of ISM and applies it to the functional trunk (3rd thoracic ring to the hips).
  • Part 2 layers on the cranium, neck, upper thorax and shoulder girdle and loops back to integrate this material with Part 1.
  • Part 3 adds more to the cranium and neck, plus the lower and upper extremity to the trunk with a whole-body focus for both musculoskeletal and neurodural impairments.

The Integrated Systems Model

The Integrated Systems Model is a framework to help clinicians organize knowledge (evidence and experientially based) and develop clinical reasoning skills that subsequently facilitate best decisions for treatment. A key feature of this approach is Meaningful Task Analysis and Finding Drivers. Briefly, this involves choosing tasks to assess that are relevant to the patient’s story (meaningful to the patient’s complaints and functional difficulties), assessing the whole body (strategy analysis of the task) to find the criminal (the driver), and then developing sound hypotheses as to how the criminal relates to its multiple victims.

By the end of this series you will have ISM skills to quickly determine, for example:

  1. if a poorly controlled ankle is contributing to your patient’s pelvic girdle pain,
  2. if you should treat the thorax before, or after, or with, the pelvis,
  3. if you should release and align the cranium before addressing the neurodynamics of the spinal dura and its peripheral nerves,
  4. if you should address the clavicle, scapula or upper thoracic rings for shoulder elevation,
  5. how to wake up transversus abdominis and the pelvic floor more quickly than ‘finding the best cue’,
  6. how and when to train the pelvic floor – external palpation of the pelvic floor for assessment and training
  7. when to dry needle a muscle, when to stretch, when to strengthen,
  8. when a diastasis rectus abdominis should be referred for surgery and much more and how to use Diane’s Baby Belly Pelvic Support.
ISM Schematic Headers

We will provide you with extensive training in the key components of treatment in the ISM approach namely RACM – release, align, connect and move! We will teach you when and how to use release with awareness neuromuscular techniques and how to integrated them with myofascial and articular releases. For those of you with extensive manual therapy training, you will learn a new way of interpreting your arthrokinematic mobility tests – restricted joint glides DO NOT mean the joint is always stiff. Regional experts who work with the ISM approach will also be invited to offer the latest information on their field of expertise. This is a ‘practice-changing’ course that will organize YOUR current closet of knowledge and facilitate best decisions for treatment of a whole person using an integrated whole body/person approach, the Integrated Systems Model.

Simon Sinek suggests that for all we do, we consider WHY, HOW and WHAT to explain ourselves.

Why do we offer this course?  We love helping clinicians be better at what THEY do so they can provide more effective therapy sessions for their patients. We love seeing clinicians become passionate and excited about their profession once again.

How do we do it? By providing a safe, creative learning space and relationships that foster peer and mentor learning. In other words, we learn together both in-class and online.

What are we: A dedicated group of physiotherapists who play at work and work at play – there is no difference. Come play and learn with us!

ISM Series Grads

The 2016 ISM Series Akasha group bought Diane ISM t-shirts and made a video!

Upcoming Dates

Supporting Materials

Included in the ISM tuition from 2020 onward

Course Reviews

  1. Taking ISM early in my career has been by far the best decision I could have made


    As a new graduate from physiotherapy school, starting out in clinic I felt really overwhelmed with how to assess a patient efficiently and effectively. I quickly realized that the gap between what I had learned in school and who I saw in the clinic grew as more complex medical histories and multiple meaningful complaints were encountered. Although school provides us with a necessary list of skills, I wasn’t sure when each of these skills was required, nor did I quite understand how to use each of the data points I collected to inform the treatment plan for the unique person sitting in front of me. Taking ISM early in my career has been by far the best decision I could have made. It really helped me to organize my assessment, learn why I was assessing something and inform my treatment plan. It took me out of collecting information to thinking critically and being able to see the person as a system of regional interdependence rather than isolated regions of the body. I was worried when I first took ISM that I would not have the right skills required to be able to use it or understand it, but the way it is designed is that it meets you where you are at with your assessment and clinical reasoning skills. The preliminary skills that I learned in school fit into the model and allowed me to organize my thinking. The best part is that it opened up the world of reflection for me and from this I have felt myself grow exponentially in the last year. I would highly recommend ISM for newer graduates, as it can give you a great starting point and as you add skills and courses to your resume, it only enriches the ISM model. Additionally, having access to clinical mentors to help me integrate and work through using ISM in the clinic has been invaluable. I feel really grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from the ISM team and feel so thankful that I have been able to start my career on such a solid foundation.

  2. Far exceeded my expectations


    I just wanted to email to say thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us. I have been solving puzzling bodies so quickly now. And people’s symptoms make so much more sense now. It is so much fun too. I knew the course would be good, but it has far exceeded my expectations. I can’t wait for the rest of the pieces of the puzzle.

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