“You Can’t squeeze water out of a rock”

This is a quote from a spiritual leader Krishna Das, although this seems simplistic at first, it is very

applicable to your practice as a therapist. Before having this analogy, I had a difficult time helping explain to students that just because everything is pointing in one direction, it does not have to be the RIGHT direction.

“You can’t squeeze water out of a rock” statement basically means if you continue to try to squeeze a rock to get water out, you are just going to be filled with disappointment and feeling of failure. The reason is clear, you can not squeeze water out of a rock. Once you can recognize that concept, you will stop squeezing the rock and seek out other methods of getting water.

The same goes for therapy, sometimes we get so stuck on a diagnosis that we can not see that it is not correct and if we would just change our thoughts that flow would start happening. Having this ability to recognize that the current diagnosis is not going to work takes practice but in time you can master the art of recognition. The masters, recognize this almost immediately. When you ask a mentor how many diagnoses they worked through in an initial evaluation, usually the number is high. Although sometimes even they do not realize it. It has become apart of their “Normal”.

This is not how students are taught most of the time. They are typically supposed to marry to a diagnosis

that fits whatever is considered “evidence-based” or “best practice”. Once it is entered into the note and there is a plan, usually there is no changing it until the plan fails six visits later.

I try to help students recognize that they do not have to wait until the sixth visit to make that decision. It can literally be minutes in the first appointment or after 1-2 visits with outcomes that do not match your predicted changes.

Diagnostics can become so much easier if you are willing to stop squeezing the rock hoping for water and start looking for water!

If you like this article, please do not hesitate to seek out a mentor or Fellowship instructor to help you in your growth as a manual therapist.

About the author,

Rajesh is a Physical Therapist, who is passionate about health and wellness. He is interested in all aspects of general well being including fitness, nutrition and mindfulness. He continues to learn and grow from the profession he loves.

If this article is helpful to you or you would like to get more information, please do not hesitate to contact me at

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