Now that I am on the other side of this experience of delivering powerful adjustments to people, I realize a few things:
Trust comes in many tiny little experiences.
People are not going to trust you just because you want them to. You cannot force trust – you build it. Recently, a woman rewrote my Hippa form in the reception area before she would sign it and let us begin. She. Rewrote. Hippa. When we started our new patient visit, she was standing up because she was in agony, and I purposefully sat down so that she had a dominant position, looking down at me. She was grouchy, contradictory and extremely defended. I let her be all these things. I did not try to change it. I did not take it personally. I just listened and asked questions until “it” finally came out.
“It” is the moment when they reveal what is real. What was real for her was that she was so annoyed that she was in such a bad place, she had to resort to seeing a chiropractor. Not flattering… and TOTALLY NOT PERSONAL. I just nodded. I get it. It is hard to feel vulnerable. It is scary to feel so out of control. It is impossible to trust something that your family and peers are telling you is crazy to do. So, I just nodded. A simple gesture, but it took her tension away. She could trust me more because my agenda/knowledge/philosophy was not going to overpower or control her. Her quality of life has greatly improved since she began in our office just a few months ago.
My husband and I often talk about how to handle these situations where people begin in great defense or challenge. Our previous chiropractic coaches would have instructed us to use the phrase, “Next” when anyone objected. People have their objections, and their “noise” about chiropractic. Objections are somewhat rational. “Noise” is just the subconscious and sometimes primal pollution towards a wonderfully positive thing. How do you overcome objections and “noise” in your office?
Trust can be divided into intellectual, physical, and super deep.
Last week I wrote about the woman who said, “My body trusts you less than my mind does.” I know that trust comes in many tiny little experiences, and we need to remember that the people we adjust will trust at their own pace. Sometimes, we need to remember that people heal, learn and grow at their own rate — not ours.
Trust can be broken waaaaaay faster than it can be repaired.
One time, a mom brought in her daughter for an adjustment. The mom was really invested in the child getting care. I see now that she wanted her daughter to be fixed. Her daughter’s symptoms were causing her, the mom, pain. The mom was anticipating a life of loss and lack if things were to continue the way they were going. The child was scared. She needed time to get used to the office. She had been traumatized in other doctor’s offices.
It all happened so fast when I look back now. The daughter was crying and running away from the table. The mom forced the daughter onto the table. Hit her. Yelled at her for not listening. It was bad. Trust was broken for that girl. She could not feel safe in the office. I was freaked by the mom’s intensity. We all needed to regroup. I did talk the mom down. I explained that we can take our time. I let her know that her daughter could do this at a different pace and we reset our goals and expectations for that day, but it took so long for that child to feel safe and comfortable in our office — twice as long as it could have taken. Now I know enough to see ahead in this situation. I realize that moms are freaked about their kids. They cannot think clearly sometimes. They need guidelines about how to frame care in their own heads, and for what they say to their children ABOUT the upcoming new patient visit. Many adults need this too.
So, how do you build trust? What do you do to prepare people for what will happen in your office? Do you explain your procedures? Do you pre-frame what will happen in a new person’s first visit? Have you thought about what it feels like to be a new person in your office?