by Coach Cary Bayer
"How often should I see you?" It's a question that just about every alternative therapist is typically asked by new clients or prospective clients with regard to the ideal frequency for treatments. It's a terrific question for any healer to be asked for a number of reasons, the least of which is that it generally means that the person doing the asking will soon be doing the receiving of your healing hands, deep insights, and expanded perception, and she'll be revitalizing her achy body, tired mind, and worried heart. Unfortunately, I have seen far too many healers answer this important question in ways that sound something along the lines of:
- "Whenever you think best." or
- "Once a month is usually a good frequency."
I'll comment on each of these answers, and then offer an alternative that provides a win/win/win scenario. Why three wins? Because getting treated by therapists more often benefits the client in obvious health-giving and emotional ways, benefits the therapists in obvious financial ways, and benefits all those around the client in a variety of subtle ways.
Commentary to "Whenever you think best."
One of the things that, in my position as marketing coach for alternative therapists, I tell my clients who are therapists is that if the person who's asking you the questions about frequency of treatments happens to be new to your modality, and you're the professional, why in the world would you ever possibly think about passing the decision off to her? After all, she's asking you in the first place.
Suppose you asked a dentist whom you were considering seeing for treatment how often he recommend that you should see him. Would you expect a highly-trained health care professional like a DDS to say something along the lines of "Well, whenever you think best?' Or better yet--"Just ask your teeth; they'll know." I'm well aware that you have probably have four wisdom teeth in your mouth--but, take it from me, they're much better at chewing food than at chewing over health maintenance schedules.
Commentary to "Once a month is usually a good frequency."
After doing an informal poll, I discovered that people who get massaged regularly rank the experience as among the top 10 pleasures in their lives. So why would you ask them to wait so long to have this feeling of well-being? Bob Hope, the great entertainer who lived more than a hundred years, used to get a massage once a day. While your prospective client most likely doesn't have the comic star's many millions, a frequency of once a week is a pretty nice one for you to recommend. If she is unable to afford a massage each week, let that be her decision, not yours. If she's too busy to come in to see you once a week, let that also be her decision, not yours. Don't make financial decisions for your clients and prospects, and don't make scheduling decisions for them either.
An Alternative Response to their Question
I like to tell my therapist clients the following, which I think is a perfect response to the question that their clients ask, "How often should I see you?" The simple response is as follows: "When I ask my clients how they feel right after a healing session ends, they almost always reply by saying, 'Great or terrific.' So I ask you, 'How often would you like to feel terrific?'"
What I like most about this answer is that it isn't a lecture. Your client is lectured to by bosses, clients, parents, spouses, religious leaders, and TV commercial pitchmen, among others, on a sometimes daily basis, so the last thing she needs is to be lectured to by you, her prospective alternative therapist, as well. (Lecturer is also a terrible role for you to play with your client, in this context or in any. That's because lecturers drone on and on with words, words, words, and many of you have the ability to bring your client to a wordless state of silence for an hour. Don't confuse her with such a dichotomy. Far too many people in her life at home and at work bombard her with spoken words, to say nothing of the hundreds of others who bombard her with words in emails.)
What I also love about the answer above is that it lets her decide--but only after you've provided an enlightened context within which she can think about it; namely, the state of feeling terrific. There are very few people in her personal or professional lives, with whom she comes into contact who give her the opportunity to feel terrific--and who do so consistently, every single time she sees them. That's a rare gift and blessing that you enjoy. Don't short-change her by turning into someone who bores her with words.
Never forget that your table or office is like an oasis for your clients, a calm place in the storm of their lives. You're the lighthouse in a dark and stress-filled world. Never underestimate your importance to their bodies and psyches. You make a difference in their lives and, as a result, in the lives of everyone they touch. If they take a long time between treatments, they carry extra stress, tension, worry, and confusion around with them for a longer period of time than is necessary, and may wind up taking it out on the people in their lives. Too often, it's those who they love the most who receive their worst. On the other hand, if the frequency with which they see you is, say, weekly, you give them the chance to share more of a stress-free, harmonious vibration with their friends, family, and co-workers. It also means that you're giving them the chance to share more love with those who they love the most. And that's a huge blessing for you, for them, and for their loved ones.
As Moses said to Pharoah repeatedly, "Let my people go." I'm no leader of the Hebrew people, but I'd like to adapt this edict from this great Biblical prophet by saying to you repeatedly, "Let your clients go to see you--as frequently as possible."
For more information visit www.CaryBayer.com.