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Question: The difficult patient

Asked by andys 5 years ago

17 answers

Can you help out?

Best answer

Top Answer – As rated by the community

Deniseangel 5 years ago

I have handled difficult clients. I usually repeat back to them what they have said to me. I agree with them within reason. Accomodate as much as possible and do not show fear. They can smell it. If there is no pleasing them, I apologize and I walk away. If the complaint comes afterward, I offer two things. Redo or refund. But if they choose refund, they cannot return for further services. You cannot take this personally, sometimes you're just not their flavor. Others will like you. Just move on.

Other answers (16)

serbugabi 5 years ago

I have worked with difficult patients before. The lady didn't really want a massage. She wanted a doctor + therapist + massage + the good Lord knows what else. She kept coming back to me and asking questions about her health I couldn't posibly know the answer to. After about 2 months of treating her every week, I told her she would be happier if she found someone more compatible to her needs. Hopefuly she found that wonder person.

Sources: massagebygaby.com

AmberW 5 years ago

I have had a few of the difficult clients. They can really drag you down. What I have learned from my experiences has taught me well and I changed up a few things.First, I have release statement forms that I save just for those situations where I feel a client is going to be difficult. I have them sign it after my full consultation and have it in writing what we agreed on. This protects against refunding money after offering your services and time. I do explain that any defaults in service will be corrected. I also repeat everything back to them and make sure to have plenty of pictures on hand to show them to make sure we are seeing the same thing. And if worse comes to worse, if I don't feel comfortable with what the client is requesting, I don't do the service. Most important is to thoroughly communicate. I always add an extra 30 minutes during the first visit to make sure we get comfortable with each other and come to an agreement on what is expected form the days service

Answer Comments

Ladyhawk 4 years ago

Thank you for this answer. I have many questions and consider myself to be interested in learning more about the ways and hows of Eastern medicine. I am currently involved with imaging studies and diagnostic so I have a clear (or more clear) picture of what exactly I am looking for. Repeating back what was said has been a useful technique for me just dealing with conflict in general.

MichelleZelli 5 years ago

I believe 'difficult' is just another name for unconscious resistance when it comes to therapeutic work. Instead of perceiving the client as 'difficult' I reframe into resistance and work at reducing the resistance and encouraging the client to acknowledge how it manifests.

The client is sitting there preparing to release some long held beliefs and strategies they have used for life often for decades, there is no surprise that they can become tense, uncomfortable and resistant.

Once this is gently communicated it is time to focus on the goals the client has in mind and spend a little time witnessing how fear and resistance have held the client back.

With this knowledge of their own strategies for sabotage and confidence that they are working with someone who understands them I have always found it easy to move forward having benefited from the experience.

reSource-therapy 5 years ago

How do you define a difficult patient? I find that all my clients are fascinating. They bring me their challenges and hope I will understand where they are coming from. I have no difficult clients, just complicated, fascinating people.

ReikiMasterLifeCoach 5 years ago

I find coaching manuals help here ~ you can figure out what the client's representation system is and use wording that matches it. For example, if they are more of a visual person (you can tell this if they say things like "I see what you mean" or mainly talk in pictures), and you talk more from a kinesthetic perspective ("I know what you mean"), then it may be difficult for them to see things from your perspective. Figure out how they perceive the world and talk in line with that. You also have the "rapport ruiner" who disagrees with everything you say, so you have to change the way you say things and include 3 negatives in each sentence ("no, you wouldn't want to do that then, would you not")

Sources: Curly Martin "The Life Coaching Handbook"

Aletheia 5 years ago

Wow! Your question look very general and there will be a lot of answering on the possible area of expertise.

I handle difficultly of the client is suffering with same spot that I have missed. I always ask the client (( "What do I miss?" What area that you still need more treatment? You will have 5 or 10 minutes left for this treatment that I have done with you in full 1 hour.)) I will learn their tough spot which massage technique would help them to feel better on their body area as I missed. I would change a different massage techinque otherwise effective.

I have never had anyone to complain about the treatment. Because they usually very happy with my profession and expertise. My goal to have them feel happy and satisfied with my full of service for therapy and treatments.

If in the future, if....client decides to complain after the massage is over and about to leave the office for refund. My refund is not suitable for my service.
For example two clients asking the same time appointment and prefers 2pm and cannot go later than 2pm because they are busy. And I pick the first client who responds first. And make sure no refund is documented at my website. So, the first client changes his or her mind to get refund because of not satisfying for the reasons of massage session. If I accept to refund the money. And loose the second client who request 2pm decides not to see me and went another therapist or otherwise client is busy till next month to see me. I may have difficulty to keep this business running for this reason. So, I have to decide not to accept the refund.

On the other hand. Client who receives the massage session from me and want further therapy next time would be more effective than the first session and change the massage modality which is more effective than this first session client. I would recommend the package with the gift certificate for 4 purchased certificate and receive 5th visit FREE.

JoanneB2010 5 years ago

Sometimes a client will come to see you and they'll be at their wit's end. They'd have tried every other treatment and had no relief. This is the kind of client you can really learn from. You really need to just use trial and error. Many situations that cause people discomfort are from muscle tightness and tension. I've had clients that were in a lot of pain and after doing some trigger points the pain is gone. When your muscles get very tight they pull on all of the muscles surrounding them. This can be very painful, especially if it goes on for a long period of time.
I would start with a swedish massage, look for tight areas and knots first. Once you have an idea what the problem is you can massage deeper in that area, do trigger points, help the client do some stretches, etc. I always check in with the client often to see if they are feeling better or possible feeling more pain.

SilverHand 5 years ago

The difficult patient: how to treat if you have to, and what can you learn from them, for when you have to treat another?

I see two ways to comprehend this question, first when a client is difficult to deal with on a personality level and second when a client’s body is not easily accepting treatment. I will try to address both.

Unfortunately working for a spa or in a co-op environment can ensnare a Therapist in to the circumstances where they don’t have much influence as to who they have to deal with or who they get to accomplish something with. Massage as a service industry is a class of employment which too often sees its’ share of difficult people as well as absolutely rude customers who take out their issues on the “lower echelon” of workers. In those situations what action can be done or words can be said are subject to how much the management will support the Therapists choices. A good establishment will have guidelines on engaging problematic customers for the protection of the business if not for the Therapist themselves.

That is a good place to begin, know and understand what policies are currently in place or what obligations you as a Therapist have in representing the business as described when hired. Next understand that as much as a Therapist wants to help a client, if the client wants a target rather than help, then regardless of how much the client attempts to make it, it isn’t personal. If a Therapist cannot ground and be calm in the face of a difficult client, then it is appropriate to remove themselves from the workspace and take a moment and seek assistance from another Therapist or member of management in resolving the discord. Being overly fearful of confrontation or prideful and simply pushing through the situation can cause the Therapist to be the one misplacing emotions on other clients later in the day. If all else fails stopping services and informing the client politely that their payment for the session will be refunded and suggest they come back at another time when assistance will be better to their taste. Becoming skilled at Verbal Conflict Resolution can be of help if the Therapists’ work environment will have such clients as the norm rather than the exception.

I am the sole personnel of the office and as such can make what choices I care to professionally. I have taken time to network with other Therapists and Bodyworkers so that I can, after an Intake Interview, refer out clients I deem inconsistent for my services or are likely to generate personality conflicts.

When The client is not difficult in personality so much as their body is not compliant with treatment given, then the approach must be analysed. Do not misunderstand this to mean a different technique must be used. While that may be a possibility in a new treatment as a whole, how the body is failing to work properly and what the thought process is behind the first treatment is the beginning step in establishing a new treatment protocol. Remember a muscle can only contract, so analyzing which synergetic muscles groups are contributing to the problem might give some relief and insight, but investigating the problem muscles opposing-contractor may be the new approach you need for better success in treatment. When specific localized therapy is not working, expand to encompass a more generalized focus. Investigate the possibility of referral pains. Each time you evaluate something new you will learn the different indicators that will suggest the solution to you in future clients.

MassageTherapyBoston 5 years ago

I'm not sure that you will learn something relevant from each 'diffiuclt' client you'll get through the years but it might make you more aware of your business policies once you get one. Or you'll discover which lines you (professionally) won't cross and which ones are slightly more flexible. Often a 'difficult' client is just someone who knows what they like and insists on it. In which case you can just go with the flow. If it's inappropriate behavior . . . have you policies firmly in mind and impliment them immediately.
Stay clam, use a reasonable voice and don't get sucked into whatever it is that they are trying to work out on you. You're most likely just the target . . . rather than the cause. Don't take it personally. This is also one reason you get paid in advance of the massage. If they insist on a refund you can issue it but remember you just gave a block of your valuable time to them. You can have it written down (in your policies or on your website) that you take a flat fee out of any refunds.

Sources: The Educated Heart, Nina McIntosh

EmeryMassageandBodywork 5 years ago

Finding out before hand what the client is wanting can help with any potential "difficult clients." Of course the question at hand is general but you have to ask yourself why the person may be transferring to you, could they have had an unpleasant experience as soon point. Communication is important.

EatBetterNow 5 years ago

The most important thing with any client is to listen to them. And listen hard. The 'difficult' client is often fearful which is why they put up a defence. It is the training and professionalism of the therapist to find the end of the thread to help start pulling that defence down with respect and understanding.
Mirror their actions and use their speech patterns to gain confidence. Use eye contact and don't forget to smile!

DrDanielle 5 years ago

Difficult people know that they are being difficult and are resistant. I eventually went to a consultation fee policy where I met with potential clients before providing services. As I explained to them: not all money is good money; I may not be the service provider for them and vice versa. The purpose of the consultation is to determine whether or not we would have the rapport needed to effectively meet their needs. This concept not only helped but INCREASED my business. Word of mouth referrals went out of the roof!!

GypsyQueen 5 years ago

vague question , could you rephrase, personally I have never had a difficult client.

HeatherMoll 5 years ago

We all have difficult days at different times for different reasons. Part of being a good massage therapist is using your extra sensory perception when dealing with a client. A client can often be misinterpreted as "difficult" when they are simply in pain and desperate for relief. Perhaps they have come to you with a negative experience that they are working through just to walk in the door. If that's the case, you have to appreciate that they would give massage a second chance. Regardless of the reason, I would view this client as a challenge. If I can solve his/her problems after a few visits and find some sort of effective communication on their level, chances are, that person is going to be a client for life. If it's simply a personality conflict, there really is not much you can do about that. Not every MT is going to be a perfect match for every client. Bottom line, give everyone a chance to work through their issues before you turn them away. However, there is NO excuse for abusive behavior on any level for any reason and any MT is completely justified in turning away a client who is disrespectful or innappropriate.

Katie-Colburn 5 years ago

I have had a few "difficult" clients. Turns out they weren't really difficult, it's just that one therapist can't please EVERYONE. That's why there are so many wonderful massage therapist's out there! Which is a good lesson to learn........

WestLondonColonics 1 year ago

I am Julia Rhodes of West London Colonics.
Difficult clients are those I learn most from.
Not that I like it at the time. But just to say, they are often a mirror.

Sources: Wahanda page: http://www.wahanda.com/place/west-london-colonics/

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