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Share Content/Information

Providing relevant information in a meaningful way is critical to giving people the tools they need to make educated choices about their own bodies. There are many ways to do this such as visual or tactile aids and by using plain language.

Person-Centered Patient Education

When providing new information to people, make sure that you are giving the most relevant information in a way that is individualized based on what they have previously expressed. 

Learning theory says that in order for new information to be learned, it must be integrated by connecting to previously known information. People must connect with information in a meaningful way. This can be done effectively through a variety of methods such as having them teach the information back to you.

Ways to Share Information

Building Blocks of Learning

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  1. Hearing the information -which means it must be given in a language they understand. 

  2. The information must be understood -use visual aids and plain language.

  3. They must process the information.

  4. The information must be integrated into what they already know.

  5. They must be able to remember the information later.

Learning Requires

Visual/Tactile Aids

An excellent tool to help people understand what something is or how it works is to use a visual or tactile aid such as: 

  • Images of anatomy

  • Contraceptive samples such as an IUD they can hold in their hands

  • Videos that show how contraceptive methods are used

  • Handouts to take home

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Plain language


Many people will understand relative and absolute risk better when it is phrased as 3 people out of 1,000 rather than using percentages like 0.3%. When describing relative risk; use common denominators when describing characteristics such as efficacy:

  • “If 100 people have unprotected sex for a year, 85 of them will get pregnant as compared with maybe 1 or none using an implant.”

  • “If a person switches from the pill to an IUD, the chance of pregnancy decreases from 7 in 100 to less than 1 in 100.”


Instead of..



“how well it works to prevent pregnancy”

Return to fecundity

“Once you stop using ___ , your ability to get pregnancy goes back to whatever is normal for you”

Non-contraceptive benefits

"things your birth control can do you for in addition to preventing pregnancy”

Bleeding profile

"changes to how your period comes”

Reflective Listening

Reflective listening is a person-centered way to engage with people by summarizing the main points of the conversation in order to review, show understanding, allow an opportunity for correction, and to move the conversation forward. 

When listening to what people say about reproductive desires and contraception, pay attention to tone of voice (happy, apprehensive, etc), body language, and facial expression to better understand how people may be feeling.

Reflective listening is not simply repeating what people said exactly, instead summarize or rephrase to show that you understand.

Reflective listening steps:

  1. Begin with an introduction like the following: “So I’m hearing you say…” or “It sounds like…” or “Am I right that you…”

  2. Share your reflection

  3. Say something like, “Did I get that right?” or “Is that what you mean?” or “Is that correct?” or sometimes just a pause will serve the same effect

When reflective listening, if someone corrects you then this is an opportunity to take accountability for getting the information wrong and then correcting yourself. This shows humility and shows the person you are talking to that understanding them is more important than you being right.

The phrase "on one hand" can be used to clarify patients goals if they seem to be at odds with their reported behavior. Examples of this are difficulties using condoms or taking medication. By going over this providers can help potentially identify and overcome barriers. This also helps people identify what is important to them.


  • “It sounds like on one hand you are saying you really want to wait until [fill in with something they have said], and yet on the other hand, part of you would like to have a baby right now...  Do I have that right?”

  • “On the one hand, you would really like to finish school before you become a parent, and on the other hand it’s hard to be consistent with your [pill use, or depo use, or condom use]…"

  • “So I hear you saying on one hand that it’s important to you to wait until you are ready... and it’s great hearing about all of your plans; and on the other hand, you had unprotected sex last night?”

  • "On the one hand, you said that you are understandably upset about getting chlamydia again, and on the other hand asking your husband to use condoms feels really uncomfortable for you.  Do I have that right?"

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