Good for the goose, good for the gander. Heidi Allen talks about BiM.

So, we have spent the last weeks introducing you to the BiM team at UniSA in Adelaide and Neuroscience Research Australia in Sydney.  Well, I got my own back and grabbed Heidi’s phone and asked her a few questions. Here she is:


  1. Sandy Hilton says

    I agree with Paul. What you all do here is critical to my ability to give my patients quality information – I just have to translate a bit for some of them. The rest I send directly here.
    I send people right to Paul though, so I think his ‘filter’ is fairly decent.

  2. Lorimer, you’d probably be intrigued to see just how short and straightforward that chain can be. For instance:

    1) Neil McConnell posts something, and I read it and think, “This is bloody brilliant, again, and I didn’t know that myself, because I’m still not bloody Neil”.

    2) New knowledge digestion (3 to 300 hours, depending).

    3) I write about pretty much the same thing, trying to be half as clever as Neil, but “intelligently dumbed down” for my audience (“We’re going to tinker with your ticker.”)

    So: nearly direct from BIM to my readers, detouring only through the dubious filter of my gray matter. You keep doing the heavy lifting, and I’ll keep doing my level best to pass it on.

  3. Most chuffed Paul & Sara – these inputs are indeed appreciated. We really REALLY appreciate people such as you, who are critical links in the chain, I am sure. Keep it up!

  4. Nice interview, Heidi, and particularly interesting for me as one of the more — how shall we put it? — “seasoned” of the pain and therapy bloggers. When I was getting started with way back in 2001, I was essentially alone. For a few years, almost no one else was publishing anything I considered particularly competitive online. Only a decade later, the internet is now crowded with competition … although it consists almost entirely of amateur writing motivated by self-promotion (clinic blogs).

    And that’s what makes blogs like this one so important. Although a bazillion clinic blogs have emerged, only a handful of “serious” pain and therapy science blogs have appeared. I can practically count them on my fingers still. And BIM is serious indeed! You’re upping the ante, raising standards for online publishing on this topic. It’s a great thing.

    I don’t know how much impact you’re having, but I can certainly tell you that the content here is an invaluable resource for me as a publisher. There are a lot of clinicians who will probably never read BIM … but they will read my site. And the BIM team has strongly influenced and supported the ideas and information that I am offering to thousands of my own professional readers. So there’s unquestionably a substantial trickle down effect from your contributors to my readers.

    And we thank you!

  5. Sara Brentnall says

    Great! Yes well done Heide – and BIM team.
    There is no doubt you are making a difference out here in clinical practice and the world of people in pain.
    Some wise person once told me that’ you can count the seeds in an apple, but not the apples in a seed’. BIM and NOI have been sowing seeds – and some are growing really strong, and beginning to produce fruit and seeds of their own. I think the new collaborative YouTube video that HIPS have posted is an example of this.
    Attitudes are changing – at pain conferences and physio conferences (my limited experience) there are people who are no longer so bogged down in the medical model that they can’t see the possibilities – and people other than Lorimer and David who get up there and bang on the drum!
    Keep banging – we’ll eventually learn to walk to a different tune!

  6. Thanks for the reply. Don’t get me wrong, i think the work BIM and NOI do is fantastic and advanced the profession no end, please keep it coming.

  7. Great interview. You’re setting a high bar with some of your ambitions. Do you think you will be successful in changing the way chronic pain is perceived and treated in clinical practice? How long do you think it will take? As David Butler & NOI have been banging there drum for 20 years now and I’m not too sure clinical practice has got any more bio-psychosocial in that time.

    Lorimer Reply:

    Hi Dave –
    This is the really difficult question and you have gone straight to the heart of it. One can think about this on many levels – I agree that our ambitions are lofty but I am yet to be convinced that they are outrageous. We love getting news from people that they appreciate our input because, as you say, measuring a real effect is very close to impossible. We are currently embarking on a proper experiment to try to do this – time will tell. We actually debate within the team this issue of changing the way chronic pain is perceived and treated and there are mixed feelings about how central an ambition that is. For me it is quite central I think, but I do not take lightly how slippery a customer is clarity, especially when it comes to our motivation to do things. I take on board your observation about Dave and NOI’s tireless work, but I have an alternative impression of its effect – I think Dave’s contributions over time have made a substantial impact – there is no doubt in my mind that his work HAS increased biopsychosociality and HAS changed clinical practice. We are not NOI – we don’t aim to be and we have a fundamentally different brief – I really like what they do and hope they keep doing it as well as they seem to – but their impact over that time is, for me, more of an example of what can be done, not what can not. From little things, big things grow. Regardless of that, we will not be measuring BiM simply on its outcomes, we also measure it on the process – does it fit our values? Again, a very difficult question and one that takes more courage and insight than outcomes measurement, but I reckon we can evaluate that every week. Perhaps this is one of those times that a cliche fits and we can curb the cringe and claim it – I do think that with BiM, success may lie in the journey, not in the destination. Anyway, I really appreciate your insight here – BiM is obviously a work in progress. Thanks for contributing.