Webinar: Thinking About Thinking: Critical Thinking Explored

Cal Cates, Ericka Clinton, Kristin Coverly, Whitney Lowe, Til Luchau, Ruth Werner

This course has closed captioning. Click “cc” on the video player to view.

Join a respected group of massage and bodywork educators for a spirited panel discussion on critical thinking to gain a better understanding of this essential skill and the tools that can enhance your own critical thinking. Panelists share definitions and how to balance protocol with adaptations, incorporate new information, overcome decision paralysis, and use a multi-step process to work through the critical-thinking process. Use the information from this course to improve your critical-thinking skills to achieve the best possible outcomes with clients. Start thinking about thinking!

This course was featured during the 2021 ABMP CE Summit.

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Course Outline

Discussion Questions

What is critical thinking?

We hear a lot about the importance of critical thinking, but why does a massage therapist need to develop critical-thinking skills?

How do practitioners reconcile the value of protocol, procedure, and recipe with the need to adapt, customize, and tailor their approach (i.e., think critically) in relationship to individual clients and different contexts?

How do practitioners balance the things about which they feel confident with the need to incorporate new information, particularly when it challenges those points of confidence?

How do we find the balance between being under-informed and information overload/decision paralysis?

What are the limitations or downsides of critical thinking?

Learning Objectives

Having viewed this online massage therapy technique CE course, participants will be able to:

  • Define the term critical thinking.
  • List at least three reasons a massage therapist needs to develop critical-thinking skills.
  • Describe at least one way a practitioner can use critical thinking to adapt their techniques from following a pre-determined protocol to meeting a client’s unique needs.
  • Describe how communicating with clients throughout the session can help facilitate the practitioner’s critical-thinking process.
  • Describe how experience and confidence factor into critical thinking.
  • List at least one strategy to overcome decision paralysis.
  • List the steps in Ruth Werner’s critical-thinking process.
  • List at least one downside of critical thinking.
Cal Cates

Cal is the executive director of Healwell and has been teaching and developing curriculum for massage therapy courses focused on hospital-based practice, oncology massage and end of life care since 2007. Their experience in clinical practice in hospitals around the US has informed their teaching style greatly. Cal is clear that massage therapy is healthcare and feels a personal commitment to inviting students to consider themselves as integral to a whole person healing process. Cal’s favorite thing about teaching healthcare providers is the ability to blend nerdiness and authenticity to create opportunities to be more effective, more human, and more flexible. Learn more at www.healwell.org.

Ericka Clinton

Ericka Clinton, LMT, is the dean of the massage therapy program at the Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences in New York City. She also teaches continuing education courses covering topics including oncology massage, shiatsu, medical massage, anatomy, and working with special populations. She currently serves as the president of the board of directors for the Society for Oncology Massage.

Kristin Coverly

Kristin Coverly, LMT is a massage therapist, national educator, and former instructor and school administrator with degrees in marketing and public relations. As the director of professional education at ABMP, she creates resources and education to support massage and bodywork professionals, has led ABMP BizFit Live: Successful Practice Workshops across the country, and wrote the Business Side column in Massage & Bodywork magazine. By creatively blending her backgrounds in business, education, and massage she helps therapists develop unique strategies to successfully market and manage their practices. Contact her at kristin@abmp.com

Whitney Lowe

Whitney Lowe directs the Academy of Clinical Massage which provides advanced clinical massage continuing education as well as programs for schools. His system of orthopedic massage is designed for massage therapists seeking to meet the needs of clients with chronic pain or sports, recreational, or occupational pain and injury conditions. He is the author of Orthopedic Assessment in Massage Therapy and his articles appear regularly in professional peer-reviewed journals, Massage & Bodywork magazine, and other industry publications. Learn more about his workshops and online courses at www.academyofclinicalmassage.com.

Til Luchau

Til Luchau is a lead instructor and the director of Advanced-Trainings.com. He is a Certified Advanced Rolfer with a diverse background that includes manual therapy, somatic psychology, transformative education, as well as organizational and leadership development. He is the author of the Advanced Myofascial Techniques textbook series, has a regular Myofascial Techniques column in Massage & Bodywork magazine, and his articles have been published in magazines and peer-reviewed technical journals internationally. He has trained thousands of practitioners in his popular courses at schools and centers in over 20 countries on six continents. His private practice based in Colorado includes myofascial and pain-science informed manual therapy, as well as professional consulting and supervision with practitioners from around the world. Learn more at www.advanced-trainings.com.

Ruth Werner

Ruth Werner is an award-winning educator, writer, and retired massage therapist with a passionate interest in massage therapy research and the role of bodywork for people who struggle with health. Her groundbreaking textbook, A Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology was first published in 1998, and is now in its 7th edition, published by Books of Discovery. Werner is a columnist for Massage and Bodywork magazine and Massage New Zealand.  She teaches continuing education workshops all over the world and hosts the “I Have a Client Who …” podcast on the ABMP Podcast Network. Learn more at www.ruthwerner.com and on Facebook and Twitter @RWpathqueen. Learn more from Ruth Werner through ABMP's Pocket Pathology quick-reference app with key information on nearly 200 common pathologies!

Topics and Techniques

Visit the ABMP Education Center FAQ page for a full list of resources.

Is this course approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) for CE credit?
Yes! All of the courses are approved under ABMP’s NCBTMB Approved Provider account (451086-09).

How do I earn a CE certificate for this course?
After you complete the webinar video, a quiz will appear on the page. Earn a CE certificate by scoring 70% or higher on the course quiz.

How do I access my CE certificates?
CE certificates are available on your “My CE Transcripts” page and on the course page.
Visit your “My CE Transcript” page by clicking “My CE” on the navigation bar at the top of your screen.


"Each of the panelists had something to contribute that made me think outside the box."

"This is invaluable information as it helps guide the student through what for many may be a new and daunting process. It also helps affirm what the seasoned therapist may be doing - instinctively or otherwise - and can now, with broader awareness, continue to evolve their critical thinking and thus their growth as a therapist and as a person."