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February 2008 Archives


Monday Morning Motivation

Think of all the problems you've ever had. They have all been solved. Or are on their way to being solved.

When we're in the middle of some difficulty or feeling oppressed by circumstances, it's common to become so consumed by the situation that solutions appear impossible. But it's just not true. Every problem resolves itself.

The fact is, there are no problems right now. Problems are mostly future events--which of course we are powerless to do anything about. The only thing we can influence is the present. Right now.

Most problems are projections into the future. What might happen. What could happen. If that happens, then this might happen! When (or if) it happens, you'll deal with it. But right now it's just a possibility. There are other, wonderful possibilities too.

So stay here. In the now. The future will come soon enough. And then you'll deal with it. Then, it will be now.

Testosterone Poisoning

testosterone.jpgWe had the Denver Debrief for The Conversation #6 this past weekend. Unlike previous sessions, the attendees were entirely male. It’s where I was introduced to the concept of Testosterone Poisoning. One of the symptoms of this malady is to define oneself by what one does. It manifests as an instinctual desire to fix things. Especially patients and specifically their spines. This, as participants of The Conversation discovered, is a serious trap. It ensnares many male chiropractors and invites two annoying problems that seem to plague chiropractors of the male persuasion.

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Monday Morning Motivation

Do you have clear boundaries?

The most effective chiropractors are those who show up with clearly defined boundaries between what is theirs and what is the patient's.

It's yours to tell the chiropractic story. It's theirs to accept or reject some or all of it.

It's yours to offer recommendations that you think will produce the best results. It's theirs to follow or ignore them.

It's yours to tell the truth, even if it's not what the patient wanted to hear. It's theirs to act on your suggestions (now or later) or to dismiss them.

It's yours to adjust their spine as artfully as you can. It's theirs to allow that energy to facilitate your shared intentions or to sabotage your efforts.

As Client Eastwood's Dirty Harry observed, "A man's got to know his limitations." When you steal a patient's responsibility, you're burdened with the same guilt as if you'd stolen their wallet.


Cat Food and Patient Dropout

Its not about you.Marilyn’s an animal lover. Except for the animals you eat, I could take or leave them. And I’m sure the various cats and dogs who live in our house can detect my ambivalence. They tolerate me. I ignore them.

Yet, I’ve noticed two recent behaviors among our household cat population that has revealed certain similarities with some chiropractors I know. The first deals with their communal food bowl.

Continue reading "Cat Food and Patient Dropout" »


Willingness to Confront

confront.jpgThere seems to be quite a buzz in chiropractic about confrontation. As in confrontational tolerance; specifically the ability, willingness or emotional fortitude to volitionally elevate the tension in the doctor/patient relationship. When you Google “confront” you get synonyms such as to “oppose,” “accuse” or to “criticize.”

And this is somehow a desirable trait?

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Terms of Commitment

commitment.jpgI’ve asserted that sloppy language is a sign of sloppy thinking and sloppy thinking produces a sloppy practice (and life). Chiropractors sloppy with their own language are often unable to detect the subtle clues and nuances in a patient’s sloppy language. Language that not only predicts their behavior, but reveals their lack of commitment.

Combine sloppy languaging with poor listening skills and you have a practice that never gets out of first gear. Such practices are a constant struggle, rife with superficial relationships and only rare glimpses of the deep, personal satisfaction that was promised by helping others. All this self-effort produces an emotional drain that makes practice burdensome and leads to burn out.

Consider the following exchange between a chiropractor and a new patient during the course of a report of findings:

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Monday Morning Motivation

Would someone want to buy stock in your practice after calling your office?

It's so rare to encounter people on the front lines of the service industry that you can tell actually care. All too often, you walk into a service establishment and the first impression is someone who really doesn't want to be there or who is "above" providing any service beyond adequate.

"I'm too cool to be here," says their body language.

"I'm only doing this to pay my tuition," says the tone of their voice.

"You're just an interruption to what I really love doing," says their facial expression.

You can't hide your disdain, disrespect or dissatisfaction with your life, your job or your customer. Callers can hear your smile (or frown) and they can sense your commitment (or lack of it) in your voice.

Fake it if you must. But better is to recognize that serving others is our highest calling.


Is an Adjustment a Treatment?

treatment.gifAnother example in the Sloppy Language Department is the chiropractors who say that they “treat” patients or go into the “treatment” room. Naturally, if you wish to treat patients, you’re free to do so. However, you might want to be mindful of what it means to deliver a treatment and what it means to the relationships you have with patients. Looking past the implication of this word choice may invite unwanted consequences.

A treatment constitutes ministrations designed to alleviate a symptom. Taking a pain relief medication to suppress the symptoms of a headache would be considered a “treatment” for headaches. As is adjusting a patient for the purpose of relieving their headaches. Both are treatments.

“Yeah, so? Anyway, that’s why patients show up in my practice. What’s the big deal?”

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Monday Morning Motivation

From time to time I’m asked by those who recognize the importance of maintaining their present time consciousness, for suggestions on how to improve theirs. "Are there any books or other resources?"

I’m sure there are, but I’m not familiar with them. However, here are two ideas:

1. Enforce clear boundaries. Reserve certain times to return phone calls, check your email, do reports or read to your children. Keep these times sacred. More important: no interruptions during adjusting times except for fires or nuclear holocaust. Changing gears frequently is stimulating but takes you out of the “zone.”

2. Create reminders. Consider putting small stickers with an image of a clock face (without hour or minute hands) around your office as reminders to stay focused on the subject at hand. (Make your own, or purchase some from us.)

Staying present is the discipline of busy practitioners. Become present to its importance. And then practice, practice, practice.


Virgins, Reluctants and Prodigals

prodigal.jpgI’m preparing my presentation for the Masters Circle New Patient seminar in Santa Clara later in March. This is a new talk and it addresses the topic of new patients in a way that I haven’t seen others touch. Anyway, while putting my PowerPoint together, I became present to a rarely mentioned bias I’ve noticed among chiropractors. From what I can see, there is a “pecking order” to the desirability of certain new patients!

Now, if you’re suffering from what appears to be a new patient shortage, and you’re anxious to help anyone with a spine, warmer than room temperature, this may be difficult to accept. But there seems to be different “classes” of new patients. With some being more valuable or sought-after than others.

Continue reading "Virgins, Reluctants and Prodigals" »

About February 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Chiropractic Practice Blog in February 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2008 is the previous archive.

March 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.