Do You Scold Your Practice Members?

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At one time it was common, especially among chiropractors who wanted people to come weekly for a lifetime, to scold practice members for not being regular or consistent with their chiropractic care.  I actually did it myself for a while.  In fact, we used to make them watch a short reactivation video that scolded them for their failure.  In all honesty, I made the video so that I would not have to do it myself and that alone should have been enough to convince me that it was a poor practice and that I dreaded doing it.  Perhaps because it made me uncomfortable and I disliked doing it, I really did not give any thought to how it made the practice member feel.  How do you feel when you are scolded?  Not very good.  Probably a little childish.  It is customary to think that only children get scolded.

With that said, it is important to realize that we should not overlook inappropriate behavior.  If your recommendation is that people come in to have their spines checked every week, ignoring your recommendation without a very good reason is inappropriate behavior and it must be addressed.  However, it needs to be done in a kind and loving manner.  There needs to be a firmness to your admonition.  You cannot overlook their behavior, but there is a difference between a scolding (criticize harshly) and an admonition (a rebuke).  It involves mostly your attitude.  Is your attitude that they have offended you, or made more work for you (regular maintenance practice members are the easiest to care for), or perhaps it is that they are keeping your numbers down, or negatively impacting your income level (which may be what is going through the minds of many of them when scolded)?  So, which of the above are you conveying to them?  Clearly, the issue should be that they are hurting themselves and their ability to experience a healthy and productive life. 

The problem is that we really have not convinced them of that and that is the issue, education.  If we really got through to them, they would not be irregular in their care.  Now it is true that some will reject that information.  For one reason or another they will never accept what you say, but we will not know who those people are unless we continue to explain it to them.  The bottom line is the attitude with which we do that.  If you have the right attitude and you have done everything in your power to educate that person and you are convinced they will never get it, if you can look yourself in the eye and be satisfied with your efforts, well then you must make a decision as to whether to continue caring for them.  Meanwhile keep on admonishing your errant practice members but don’t be a scold.

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