Valerie Levesque PT, DPT, FAAOMPT


Valerie Levesque is from the PNW, she went to New York Medical College outside of NYC for Physical Therapy (PT) school. She graduated in 2015, and completed her Residency and Fellowship training in Seattle through the Ola Grimsby Institute for Orthopedic Manual Therapy.

Valerie Levesque worked at Magnolia Physical Therapy in Seattle until Oct 2022. She stayed home with her first toddler in the fall of 2022 and had her second son in Jan 2023, staying home until just recently. Valerie Levesque moved to Boise (Idaho) and she is currently in the process of launching her concierge PT practice right now!

Q&A with Valerie Levesque

What is your desired transformation(s) from this alternative journey?

I think my end goal is to be a part of a wave of PTs who start to offer their services outside of the traditional model. I know we all have more to give. Our patients have needs that are not being met. So, I am really inspired by the PTs you have interviewed who are reinventing the wheel and solving problems outside of that traditional insurance-based model. I want to grow into a person who can confidently exist in the gray areas of our profession. For example, how to utilize the coaching model for virtual PT services, how to promote products in ethical ways, how to prescribe exercises/deep breathing techniques/mindfulness meditation to reduce the harmful effects of stress on our body’s hormone cycles, specifically for women. There are big important conversations in the medical community about injury prevention and delaying the onset of aging that physical therapists need to be a part of. Those are the aspects of PT that I am really excited about.

What was at stake if you didn’t take the risk of pursuing your alternative career?

It felt very existential… It felt like EVERYTHING was at stake if I didn’t take this leap of faith. If I didn’t re-enter the workforce at all I was risking the loss of my license, loss of my identity as a physical therapist, and loss of all the hard work that went into getting this far in my career. If I went to work for someone else the risk is that I would not have the opportunity to call my own shots and it might not be worth going back to work at all. I would be operating in a model that has a clear-cut income ceiling. I wouldn’t have the chance to be creative, find new paths that generate income, to follow my passions.

What is your story behind the first sense of awareness that things weren’t quite right with your rehab career?

I am more fortunate than some because my mentors and bosses and co-workers have always been kind and supportive of me and my family. But, to be honest I was feeling burnt out and disillusioned by the end of my second year as a PT, fellowship training felt overwhelming and draining- I tried to quit but was convinced to stay. And in the next several years I think I was overcome by a general sense of bitterness because I had a mountain of debt and a clear-cut income ceiling. In a competitive environment like Seattle having that income ceiling was just such a blow to my self-esteem.

Then, as I transitioned into motherhood I was frustrated with my options. I was lucky that my boss was more than accommodating and flexible, I could have worked whatever hours I asked for. But, the way it pencils out on paper I couldn’t make sense of working part-time and paying two full-time daycare bills. I have had to reconcile the competing feelings of being achievement/career-oriented and listening to my instincts that were telling me to focus on self-preservation and taking care of my family.

What are some personal struggles you went through while finding and then transitioning to an alternative career (or your business)? How did you overcome them?

So many personal struggles! Identifying as a working mom is like a badge of honor. So, when I found myself in a difficult spot last October and decided to go on an early maternity leave I had to grieve the loss of that identity for a period of time. I was pretty sensitive about it because I was watching all these other women seemingly breeze through those first years of kids with no problems, juggling their patient and their families. I just knew I couldn’t force it. I always knew I was going to go back to the clinic, but there were many unknowns at play that I couldn’t constantly entertain. I just had to trust that something was going to click into place and make sense.

Some unrelated but overlapping personal struggles during this time were that I experienced two miscarriages before carrying our youngest Miles to term and have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. So, I have had to work hard on slowing down, unlearn some harmful habits, and carefully listen to my body and what it needs. Also- my MIL moved in to help us with our toddler and the baby who was on the way. And she very suddenly passed away, causing us to really reconsider big picture things- what is really important to us, how can we honor her legacy by giving our sons the most loving childhood possible. That personal backdrop really forced us to consider moving closer to family. And the idea of starting over and working for someone else again was just not something I was prepared to do.

What are the practical (non-obvious) skills that make you a great fit for your work now?

I think the networking piece is something that is not an obvious but essential skill for a PT looking to do this concierge model. I am not fantastic at it, but I am learning. I think I am good at talking to people, I am very social and I think approachable. So, once I have the opportunity to meet someone it’s a pretty straight line from “Hey, I am a PT” to “Hey, I know someone who needs PT”. It really is not that hard of a sell.

What made you decide to pursue your current career? Why this specific one?

Concierge PT offers remedies to a lot of the pain points in the traditional PT model.

  • Clearly, it is better to have 100% attention from the DPT for the entirety of the treatment session rather than be handed off to support personnel as we see in some of these high-volume franchised clinics.
  • Another easy win is you don’t have to worry about insurance companies dictating your care. You are able to begin and finish treatment when you and the patient actually decide together to initiate or complete a course of treatment. Taking the time to get the patient all the way to where they want to be is possible, the third stage of rehab or return to sport phase is sometimes missing in the clinic.
  • The other easy win when comparing the concierge model to the traditional clinic model is the convenience factor. No one wants to wait 3-4 weeks to see a PT when they are in pain. No one wants to rearrange their work day or their kids’ school day to drive over to a PT clinic. My version of the concierge model promises same-day or next-day initial evaluations and the convenience of home visits that can flex around the patients’ existing schedules.
  • On a higher level, my observation and my own experience as a patient is that doing PT in the clinic and then going home and trying to replicate the exercises is not the same. Most of the time you don’t have the same equipment, you don’t have the mirrors, you don’t have the right setup. This makes you less likely to be compliant with your plan of care and with your HEP and we all know that means you don’t get better fast enough. Being inside of your patients’ home environment and showing them exactly how to set up the exercises means they are less likely to make mistakes and I have seen better compliance and better outcomes.

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