Yesterday was another very long day in the clinic in both the number of clients I saw and also the degree of difficulty of the problems these clients presented. For a couple of them, this was their first session. For others, I had seen them a number of times previously. On this particular day, all of the clients were improving, making progress toward full functionality. Just for the record, there are other days when it seems like every client is making no progress at all. Welcome to real life.
Thinking about that, this is not unlike the art of the cello. As a new cello student of about two years, there are stretches where I don't feel I am making an iota of improvement, which will be followed by another period where it feels like I am making tremendous leaps in ability. The key is not to get attached to either, just keep practicing. Focus on process, not product. If you trust the process, the product will improve over time.
One of my clients yesterday was deeply appreciative of the help I had given them, which was far more than the multitude of other health care providers had done for her. While the accolades are nice, my first thought was, in a way, how simple the process had been. Should any of the participants in the seminars have observed the earlier sessions, they wouldn't have seen some magic technique that wasn't in the manual. It was straight-ahead PNMT, just what we teach.
Yet, I also know that it is likely that I might have helped this person when another therapist, doing the same approach, might not have. Why? While she was profusely thanking me, this is all I could think of.
I believe the answer comes down to this, being relentless. Three days after her first session, I checked in with her to see how she was doing. (She had no improvement.) Game on. Session two- we changed approaches. Minimal improvement. I checked in with her every other day. Each session, we tweaked and refined what was done to maximize the impact. Now, she has her life back. Yes, it took several sessions, but the cumulative cost in time and money is a tiny fraction of every other approach she pursued previously.
The trajectory could have gone quite differently after that first phone call to check on her progress. Hearing that she was no better, I could have said that I was sorry that the work didn't help and perhaps soft-tissue therapy isn't the answer. Had I done that, she would be in pain today. That's a sobering thought, my decisions have an impact on someone else's life. This work can have an impact, but only if you trust the process and are willing to fail. I think she, and most of my clients, get better because of the relentlessness of my approach. They see me acknowledge lack of improvement and change course. Sadly, this is all too infrequent in their experience with other health care providers. It leads to the "I exercised once but didn't lose any weight" model of thinking.
Trust the process of problem-solving. It isn't pretty, it's messy. You will struggle. I love the Einstein quote, "We wouldn't call it research if we knew what we are doing." What clients will see is your commitment and that alone is powerful medicine. Not only will their quality of life improve, so will your skill set, which will then help someone else with similar issues. Everyone benefits.