January 3, 2012

Intakes, Histories and Human Nature

I have been listening to clients for a few years now, and I am getting more impressed with the intake form as time goes on. I had a doozy the other day.

Intake forms are important for good massages, giving the person some time to reflect and think about what they want from their sessions. They also keep the therapist informed about rare contra-indications for some types of massage, and have our back in case people do not tell us pertinent information.

I’ve developed a “hot list” for intake-fillers. These are signs that will let you know to tread carefully, ask questions and find out what you need to know before doing a massage.

Mr. Quick:  He’s here for a massage, but he has not answered a single health question. He is such a healthy guy he does not need to bother with intakes. Tread carefully, this guy probably has a few issues he is keeping to himself. I like to pick the form up and go “Oh, you haven’t answered this section.” Then I go over the intake verbally and fill it out for him. Don’t be surprised when you find out he just rolled his sports car, or that he has blood pressure problems.

Evel Kneivel: This intake looks pretty bare, except for the area where you ask about pressure. The heck with “firm,” this guy will cross that out and write in “super-deep.” Oh, he hasn’t had a massage for a year and he just moved, but he wants his nickel’s worth. I like to ask if he doesn’t mind not being able to get out of bed in the morning and feeling like he has been run over by a trash truck. That usually gets us into a conversation about firm and its meanings. Later, expect a story about going to a spa for a massage and getting a 50-minute application of oil.

War & Peace: This person has had so many knots, achy spots, accidents and therapies, the intake is filled to the margins. Before you can ask if Bronsky has got to Moscow yet, this person asks to have it all fixed in one session. Hey, and make sure they relax, too.

Ghosty: This intake looks great until you get to the informed consent part. No checkmarks, no signature, etc. “Me? Oh I didn’t see that.” One of the consents I use is asking the client to say during the massage if they are uncomfortable in any way to let me know and I will address it right away. I started doing that after a client told me she quit her last therapist because the lady had a hangnail. Anticipating it during the massage ruined the experience. “Just tell me,” I say. “I won’t get all huffy and offended.” p.s. I mean that.

Hey, intakes are going to tell us a lot about clients when they come in, especially when they fill them out funny. Wonder what would happen if we ever started to analyze the handwriting.


Anonymous said...

Answering the question "What kind of results do you expect from your massage session?" I had one new client write, "Make me cry." (Evel Knievel, type) He wanted the DEEPEST possible work done. He grunted through the first half of the session, and refused to admit that I was possibly going too deep to be comfortable. I decided that it would be wisest to go with how his body/muscles were responding instead of his mr.-super-tough-bring-the-pain machismo.
He left feeling much better, and made the final statement that he hadn't felt that good in years.
Glad I could help! :)

usa buddy bum said...

Truly ones personality varies from another and dealing with these kind of people should be done fairly and competently.