There are two types of people who look for help with their pain.
Those who see us as facilitators:
-Have realistic expectations
-Understand their role with self care in between appointments
-Show up to appointments without expectations and remain open to possibility
-They focus on symptom resolution, NOT the technique or modality, meaning they are open to everything and anything and will allow the facilitator to do whatever they think is necessary to help them on their pain relief journey
Those who see us as healers:
-Expect us to "fix" them
-Expect to be completely cured after only one session
-Do not want to participate in lifestyle changes that would improve treatment outcome
-Tell the therapist which of their techniques and modalities they can and cannot use on them. Sorry, folks, you will NOT get results with this mindset!
-Expect the therapist to know ahead of time which techniques they need. This can change moment to moment based on how you take to treatment.
I will give some examples:
I had a phone call from another therapist last week who wanted 100% guarantee that I could "fix" her and feels that anyone who cannot "fix" 100% of the population should not be licensed.
I had a woman calling about Neurokinetic therapy for her husband. Whenever someone calls me about one specific modality, I make sure that they understand that I combine modalities and techniques for symptom resolution and that I cannot guarantee that the specific modality they are requesting in necessarily what they are going to get or how much of it they are going to get. He wasn't open to my other modalities, so I kindly declined him as a client, knowing that he would not get desired symptom resolution.
I also had a lady with major jaw issues express her disappointment over starting out the session with tapping because she expected bodywork.
Here is how to get the most out of your wellness sessions with a therapist:
-Show up with zero expectations. It is a process.
-Allow the therapist to come up with your treatment plan by being open to everything and anything. If the therapist has tried a treatment or modality on you in the past that clearly does not work for you, that is when it is appropriate to speak up and say so. If you are new and haven't tried it before, then hear them out.
-Be prepared to do whatever it takes in between sessions to get better, even it that means turning your lifestyle completely upside down. Nothing moves forward without change.
-Make sure your therapist knows your entire history, not matter how insignificant you think that is it. I had two clients who had dysfunction in their hip coming from their eyes. I would not have thought to check them for that particular dysfunction if they had not told me they had been to the eye doctor earlier that day. They are both elderly. One of them told me that the older you get, the longer and more invasive an eye exam can be.
Make sure you have read their website before scheduling. We all work on pain in a different way. It is always best to speak directly to a therapist you have never been to before, even if they have online scheduling. DO NOT schedule a session online with a new therapist you have never been to before. Make sure they treat what you are seeing them for. Massage therapy has a very limited scope of practice. I have had people on occasion call me about conditions that sounded serious enough for an orthopedic surgeon consult. I saved them the time and money by not scheduling them in the first place. Massage therapists do not treat acute injuries. That is out of our scope of practice.
-Only schedule appointments for yourself. Do NOT schedule a session via third party for a family member or friend for many of the reasons stated above. Those who are vested enough to schedule their own appointments are more likely to do the self care. If you have to schedule it for them, they are not vested enough to want the session. I always speak directly to the person that the appointment is for, in order to make sure we are on the same page and that they resonate with what I do.
Everyone that I treat in my office sees me as a facilitator. I speak with all new clients ahead of time in order to determine if it's a right match. I think I confuse people when I ask them questions, even after that have said they are ready to schedule an appointment. I get it. Most therapists only care about their pocket books and do not do this. But I do, so expect it 😃