My name is Dr. Alison Van Doren, but you can call me Ali.
I am a new graduate Doctor of Physical Therapy and thrilled to be joining the Patient PT team.
I grew up in Miami, FL, with teachers for parents - my dad taught blind and partially-sighted middle schoolers while my mom first taught elementary school students with varying levels of physical and mental abilities, and later taught high schoolers with ADD, dyslexia, and other cognitive differences. Thanks to my parents’ influence, from an early age, I’ve been attuned to language and social perspectives on disability. I consider difference a part of life, not something to be categorized as “other” and pathologized. My parents volunteered with the Special Olympics and my dad coached Goalball, a team sport designed for those with low vision.
I was a lover of the humanities from my first memories, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Literature with three minors! My interest in people, stories, and lived experiences couldn’t be satisfied with one area of study, so I graduated with minors in Psychology, Sociology, and Women’s Studies.
One thing you may notice right away is that I don’t have hair – this hasn’t always been the case!
In my 20s I developed alopecia, which is an autoimmune condition where my immune system attacks my hair follicles. It wasn’t my first brush with the confusing world of healthcare. As a child I had violent allergies and widespread eczema, and my brother was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as an adolescent. Crohn’s disease is another autoimmune condition of mysterious origin.
Watching my brother’s healthcare experience as a child, and living my own, I often left doctor’s appointments feeling baffled and disempowered.
Providers asked if I was stressed, but didn’t explain what this had to do with my hair falling out, what stress is, or how it affects the body.
Thanks to these experiences, I genuinely value education and patient-empowerment. No one knows better than we do what we’re experiencing. We have the ability to understand what our bodies are doing and learn better ways of taking care of ourselves if we’re met with language that works for us.
My treatment philosophy is that physical therapists are interpreters. I am a physical therapist with a background in language and experience; I understand your words and I understand the language of the body. My work allows the two to meet and speak to each other. It’s through this conversation that healing occurs. I do work that is trauma-informed and affirming. Unlike most healthcare experiences, physical therapy is a collaborative process. It’s not a Band-Aid, it’s a reciprocal process between PT and client. PTs have a vast set of tools and you, the client, have all the knowledge of your experience. Together we make the perfect team.
I am joining Patient PT because, unfortunately, most physical therapy providers are subjected to productivity standards that pad corporate profits.
This means shorter visits, less one-on-one attention, and less successful treatment. As I neared graduation, I realized that most healthcare environments don’t reflect my priorities. We, as both healthcare providers and patients, deserve better. The transformative power of PT is unlocked when we are able to spend quality time with clients, and develop an individualized plan as a team. I am so excited to join Patient PT, where Dr. Clark has created a warm, welcoming environment and I have the one-on-one time needed to provide person-centered, holistic care. I can’t wait to help you meet your personal goals!
Call or text Patient PT at 812.558.0708 or click here to schedule today, and feel better.