World Confederation of Physical Therapy


Founded in 1951, the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) is the sole international voice for physical therapy, representing more than 350,000 physical therapists worldwide through its 112 Member Organisations. These members are national associations for physical therapists, which must meet strict criteria before being admitted.

The confederation operates as a non-profit organisation and is registered as a charity in the UK. Founded in 1951, it has been in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO) since 1952, collaborating on work programmes to improve world health. It works with a wide range of other international bodies and is a member of the World Health Professions Alliance. It is committed to furthering the physical therapy profession and improving global health through:

  • Encouraging high standards of Physical Therapy Research, Education and Practice
  • Supporting the exchange of information between WCPT Regions and Member Organisations
  • Collaborating with National and International Organisations

WCPT believes that every individual is entitled to the highest possible standard of culturally appropriate healthcare, delivered in an atmosphere of trust and respect for human dignity, and underpinned by sound clinical reasoning and scientific evidence.

History and Growth

Its first international congress and second General Meeting were held in London in 1953.  Over its history, WCPT has developed statements and education guidelines to support the development of the profession. It has introduced a structure of five regions, and close relationships with a range of international independent organisations of physical therapists with specific interests – 12 of which are now recognised as official WCPT subgroups.

WCPT’s World Congress is held every four years. There have been 16 WCPT congresses in all. Proceedings from past congresses, including abstracts, posters, presentations and some audio/videoed sessions are available online. The next WCPT Congress will be in 2015 in Singapore.

In 1996 WCPT established World Physical Therapy Day which has been celebrated annually ever since, and has grown in popularity and influence. Every year physical therapy organisations and individual physical therapists around the world organise campaigns and events to celebrate and publicise the role of physical therapists.

Vision and Mission

WCPT's vision is to move physical therapy forward so the profession is recognised globally for its significant role in improving health and wellbeing.

As the international voice of physical therapy WCPT's mission is to:

  • unite the profession internationally;
  • represent physical therapy and physical therapists internationally;
  • promote high standards of physical therapy practice, education and research;
  • facilitate communication and information exchange among member organisations, regions, subgroups and their members;
  • collaborate with national and international organisations; and
  • contribute to the improvement of global health.


WCPT provides services to its member organisations, campaigns to improve world health and produces policies and guidelines. It encourages high standards of physical therapy and global health by facilitating the exchange of information and producing resources.
All of its activities are shaped and informed by research.

WCPT shares information through a variety of publications and online media, centred around its website Its publications include WCPT News, a monthly E-update, policy documents and Keynote papers on a number of subjects.

Strategic Plan

The WCPT Strategic Plan 2017 – 2021 is the outcome of consultation with member organisations, regions, subgroups, networks and individual physical therapists around the world and describes the long-term vision for the WCPT.