So, you’re happy asking your clients how they like to learn, and gathering some really useful data along they way – data that is informing and improving your educational interventions.
But, there is a question that should come first – one even more fundamental than asking ‘how do you like to learn?’. You’ve probably guessed it already – ‘do you want to learn?’.
When you’re excited by the knowledge that you have, and confident in the benefit of sharing it with others, it can be easy to overlook the fact that not everyone will feel the same. Society and culture will have influenced what a client will expect from your profession before they arrive, and there’s a good chance they’re not expecting education.
When you ask a client ‘would you like to learn more about your pain and some science?’, many will say yes – and you know what to ask next as part of The Explain Pain Assessment* ‘how do you….’. Others will be less sure – having an explanation of why learning about pain is so important is necessary here. Others yet will flat out say no – the ‘get stuffed’ response, often accompanied by (the very understandable) ‘can’t you just fix me?’ You need to be prepared for this too – what else will you offer, will you try education again, at another time and place? Can you weave some science into story, narrative and metaphor as you’re delivering what your client expects? Should you?
Asking ‘do you want to learn’ also respects the person for who they are and helps bring you into their world, and their narrative.
From the stories we hear, many Explain Pain attempts fail before they even get started because the therapist forget to ask their client if they want to be a learner.
What’s your experience with those first appointments when you are introducing some education? Feel free to share your experiences below