Log in to:


Client Education

Improve client communication with specific activities based on Multiple Intelligences

Everyone in this field is an educator, whether you do relaxation massage or injury rehabilitation. The education occurs in two implicit manners: you teach the body how to properly respond (relax and repair); and you increase your clients' general physical awareness. Some therapists take additional routes to broaden their clients' knowledge by describing what they're doing and why; demonstrating stretches and self-massage techniques; showing videos; sharing information on related wellness topics; providing reading materials; and assigning homework.

Clients don't always get the results that are possible, or their progress takes longer because they mainly rely on the therapist's hands-on work. These are the "do it to me" clients. Educating clients so that they can understand the cause of their pain or concerns, and the methods by which it can be alleviated (or their goals achieved), makes them better informed so they assume the responsibility to get better, stay well and attain their long-range health or performance goals. As a nice aside, it also enhances their ability to promote your services to their friends and colleagues.

It is so easy to fall into a routine with clients by presenting information in the same rote manner. Therapists need to expand their instructional repertoire by using a variety of approaches. This applies to guiding a client on how to ease his pain between sessions or teaching a room filled with executives how to decrease stress. Some clients respond well to verbal information or instructions, while others need to see charts or take home information to peruse. Other clients want you to demonstrate and then watch them to see if they got it right. And then there are the clients who need a variety of formats. Plus, the more fun you make it to learn, the more likely your clients will participate (particularly when the activities are outside of the treatment).

Many theories on learning and personality styles have emerged over the past few decades, all in the attempt to address the learning needs of adults. The work I find most applicable is "Multiple Intelligences" formulated by Howard Gardner and extended to the classroom environment by David Lazear. Teaching has historically been conducted from a verbal/linguistic or logical/mathematical framework. Effective teaching takes all eight intelligences into consideration.

Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner was disturbed by the classroom emphasis on linguistic and logical-mathematical symbolization. While they are obviously important, other symbols also figure prominently in human cognitive activity. This led Gardner to a conceptualization of human intellect that was more capacious. He identified eight major intelligences (although there is rumor of a ninth). They are: Verbal/Linguistic; Logical/Mathematical; Visual/Spatial; Bodily/Kinesthetic; Musical/Rhythmic; Intrapersonal; Interpersonal; and Naturalist.

This system of understanding how people learn has nothing to do with labeling people as being a specific type. We use all of the intelligences it is just that some are stronger in us than others. While personality types are what a person is most of the time, multiple intelligences are strategies for teaching. By using a variety of intelligences with your clients, you assist in their comprehension and ensure greater compliance.

The following information is excerpted and adapted from the book Eight Ways of Teaching: The Artistry of Teaching with Multiple Intelligences, Third Edition, by David Lazear. 1991, 1999 by SkyLight Training and Publishing, Inc. Reprinted by permission of SkyLight Professional Development.

The Eight Intelligences

  1. Verbal / Linguistic: This intelligence processes information through written, spoken and reading aspects of language. The capacities include: understanding the order and meaning of words; convincing someone of a course of action; explaining, teaching and learning; humor; memory and recall; and metalinguistic analysis. It uses such tools as essays, debates, public speaking, poetry, conversation, creative writing and linguistic-based humor. This intelligence can be seen in poets, playwrights, storytellers, novelists, public speakers and comedians.
  2. Bodily / Kinesthetic: Relates to physical movement and the innate wisdom of the body. It includes using the body to express emotion, to play sports, invent things and do things by memory (e.g., riding a bicycle). The capacities include: expanding awareness through the body; miming abilities; mind/body connection; improved body functions; control of preprogrammed movements; and control of voluntary movements. It uses tools such as dance, drama, physical games, mime, role-play, body language and exercise. This intelligence can be seen in actors, athletes, mimes, dancers and inventors.
  3. Logical / Mathematical: Often called scientific thinking, it embodies pattern recognition, working with symbols and solving problems. The capacities include: inductive reasoning; deductive reasoning; discerning relationships and connections; performing complex calculations; and scientific reasoning. It uses tools such as problem-solving, calculation, logic, numbers and geometrical shapes. This intelligence can be seen in scientists, programmers, accountants, lawyers, bankers and mathematicians.
  4. Musical / Rhythmic: Occurs through hearing, sound, tonal patterns, vibration and rhythm. The capacities include: creating melody and rhythm; structure of music; schemas for hearing music; sensitivity to sounds; and sensing qualities of a tone. It uses tools such as singing, musical instruments, tonal associations and environmental sounds. This intelligence can be seen in musicians, composers and music teachers.
  5. Call Out: Encourage clients to write original pieces (e.g., essays, poetry) about themselves, their condition or their goals.
  6. Visual / Spatial: Relies on the sense of sight (physically seeing something) as well as internal vision (visualizing an object). The capacities include: accurate perception from different angles; recognizing relationships of objects in space; graphic representation; image manipulation; finding your way in space; forming mental images; and active imagination. It uses tools such as drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, montage, visualization, imagination and pretending. This intelligence can be seen in architects, draftspersons, film directors and artists.
  7. Intrapersonal: Relates to inner states of being, self-reflection, metacognition and spirituality. The capacities include: concentration of the mind; metacognition; awareness and expression of different feelings; mindfulness; transpersonal sense of the self; and higher order thinking and reasoning. It uses tools such as journals, affective processing, teaching for transfer and self-esteem practices. This intelligence can be seen in philosophers, psychiatrists, spiritual counselors and cognitive pattern researchers.
  8. Interpersonal: Operates primarily through person-to-person relating, communication, teamwork and collaboration. The capacities include: creating and maintaining synergy; discerning underlying intentions, behavior and perspectives; passing into the perspective of another; working cooperatively in a group; sensitivity to others' moods, motives and feelings; and verbal and non-verbal communication. It uses tools such as cooperative learning, empathy, social skills, team competitions and group projects. This intelligence can be seen in teachers, counselors, therapists, politicians and religious leaders.
  9. Naturalist: Deals with the recognition, appreciation and understanding of flora and fauna. The capacities include: communion with nature; caring for, taming and interacting with wild creatures; sensitivity to nature's flora; recognizing and classifying species; and growing natural things. It uses tools such as hands-on labs, field trips, sensory stimulation and classifying natural patterns. This intelligence can be seen in farmers, zoologists, gardeners, cooks, veterinarians, nature guides, animal trainers and rangers.

Creative Client Education Techniques

Verbal / Linguistic Intelligence

Logical / Mathematical Intelligence

Ask clients questions that require them to synthesize, integrate and apply what you've said and they've experienced.

Intrapersonal Intelligence

Visual / Spatial Intelligence

Bodily / Kinesthetic Intelligence

Encourage clients to breathe fully into the areas that are being worked on and tune in to the subtle muscle movements.

Musical / Rhythmic Intelligence

Naturalist Intelligence

Contact Us | Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2001-2018 Sohnen-Moe Associates, Inc.

Last updated: April 25, 2011
Processing time: 0.016 seconds