Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Detective vs. Mind Reader

I haven't posted for quite a while, but sometimes it takes taking a step away from something to help you to realize what you actually want to do with it. So I guess from now on the blog will be kind of a fusion of musings, possibly some rants, and any interesting information I've picked up along the way. Bit of a mish-mosh, which kind of describes my life right now, so what better place to let the mish-mosh flow.

When I was young, I read a lot. I mean A LOT - I was that kid who always had her nose in a book, whether it was on my own, or on the playground at recess. One of the things I liked to read at the time was a silly little series of books called "Solve the Crime" where a kind of police report of a crime (nothing too gruesome - it was a young reader's series) was presented, and the reader had to figure out the guilty party, who was lying, etc and how to prove it. I was surprisingly good at solving the mystery, and even speculated at one point about becoming a detective.

Fast forward many many years and several careers later, and Detective never made it onto my resume, but Massage Therapist did. I have discovered that in several ways, Massage Therapy is a little bit like detective work. A Client comes to me and tells me something pretty basic - "It hurts here". From there it is up to me to first ask questions: "How long has it been hurting, did you do anything that you can recall started the pain, does anything in particular aggravate the pain, etc". Next, I find the source of the problem, and implement my knowledge and training to try to repair or resolve the problem, then educate the client on what should happen next whether it is more massage, exercise, or whatever. It's no CSI, but all the same steps are there. So in a way, I guess I get to be a detective after all.

Now, just because I'm not a bad detective (if I do say so myself), that doesn't mean that I am a mind reader. I find this is a big area of client-therapist communication breakdown, especially if the client is either brand new to the therapist or if the client has been seeing the therapist for a long time. New clients can often not know exactly how much to tell the therapist, and established clients can often fall into "oh, she knows this already". Well, like I said, I can use detective skills to find a problem, but if something else is there that a client didn't divulge, I may not be able to find it right away. I can't tell you how many times I've been almost completely finished with a massage and the client will speak up with "Oh, the other day I ... and I think I tweaked ..., so could you work on that?" With 2 minutes left in the session, it is kind of difficult to start working on a new 'project', and it can cause the client to not get their issue fully addressed and the therapist to stress out, trying furiously to get them some sort of relief.

So I guess the moral of the story is, there is no such thing as giving your therapist too much information, but trust them and let them do their job. Give them what they need to find and solve the case, but don't withhold evidence that can keep them from doing their job. Now should I consider adding PI to my title? Nah, too many letters.

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