From time-to-time, I encounter chiropractors who get indignant when merely describing patients who call and just “want to get cracked.” Or get tense simply thinking about patients who reveal that they just wanted a “patch job.”
Why so easily offended? Does a patient’s unenlightened language diminish you? Does a patient’s poor choice reflect on you? Do you believe their shortsighted outlook threatens you? Or that their behavior somehow tarnishes your reputation? Is your self-image that fragile?
Oh, I know that the “my-way-or-the-highway” attitude feels empowering, creating the illusion that you can control patients, but think about it. Imposing your health values onto patients in the hopes it will engender respect or a change of heart flies in the face of how a patient would come to adopt a healthier consciousness. (Clue: it isn’t by threatening them or using your social authority to get them to do something—even if it’s in their best interests.) Pushing potential patients away because they don’t “get” what you’re about may make you feel righteous, but it doesn’t create respectful, appreciative patients. In fact, it’s rather self-indulgent and probably works against your desire for a more influential practice.
Why scorn a patient simply because they had the courage to admit they just wanted symptomatic relief? (Or do you send patients signals that smart, attractive people always choose “fix” care?) Sending them away to a more humble chiropractic servant, rather than doing the hard work of cultivating trust, communicating the big idea in a relevant way and planting seeds that could take years to mature is not only egotistical, but as shortsighted as the patient’s attitude you’re trying to change! And if you think you’re somehow “protecting the sacred trust” by shunning such patients, you’re delusional.
Are patients with wrong-headed ideas about health too much of a bother? Too much work? Are you expecting people to show up committed to finally addressing the underlying cause of their problem, while you’re unwilling to get out of your office and tell your community about the larger context of chiropractic?
Why isn’t one visit better then them popping an Advil instead? Why turn your nose up at a patient’s request for the minimal amounts of care to relieve their symptoms—which during these encounters you can explain the larger context of chiropractic? Why turn your back on patients who won’t sign up for a yearlong contract? (Before you’ve even helped them with their presenting complaint!) For a profession that is proud of its unconventional approach to health, releasing the patient’s potential to heal rather than suppressing their symptoms, why is there such an interest in controlling and imposing your wishes onto patients?
Clearly, I’m missing something here. Would you let me know what it is?