Are you informing or educating your patients and clients?

As clinical practitioners, we are in the education business, although we might not recognise this explicitly. The business of learning involves both an art and a science.

At level 1, the focus is on “what I teach”. At this level, we are not so much educating as informing. The theme here is “I will give you lots of high quality information in the belief that this will transform your understanding”.

Actual learning, or better, understanding, is not guaranteed.

A Level 2, we realise that the magic for learning is in “how I teach”. Instead of imparting information, we guide people in a process. The theme here is “I will hold the space for you to experience something”.

The difference is embodied understanding and meaning.

At level 1, what seems very specific to us can just be white noise to the patient.

At level 2, we select an experience that draws on the patient’s motivations, and set up the opportunity for them to make a discovery through their own sensory experience. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple contrast can be enough. “What do you notice when..? And when we change this one thing, what do you notice now? How do you think this might relate to the way you usually do (whatever is difficult, painful or important)….?”.

Maybe, after this discovery is made, your explanation will add further insight, but then again, perhaps not. The patient may have enough understanding just from their own embodied experience. The learning is theirs.

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Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

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