The other day one of my patients was telling me how when she was leaving for our appointment, her husband asked her where she was going. To this question, her daughter chimed in, “She’s going to see her life coach.” My client and I looked at each other and giggled. I said, “hmm, that’s interesting,” and then we both looked at each other with a certain knowing that her daughter might be onto something in her assessment of our relationship. At first I thought, “I am not a life coach’, but then it made sense. I realized that most people who are familiar with our work have told me that our practice really offers so much more than physical therapy. We really are in the business of empowering our clients, so if that seems a bit like life-coaching so be it, I wear that hat with honor.
Often our clients will refer to themselves as “lifers” meaning they enjoy getting treatment from us and we’ve become such a part of their lives that they don’t want to stop coming, no matter how great they are feeling. They are getting benefit from having regular appointments whether they come weekly, monthly or every few months. What it boils down to is that our practice tends to attract folks who are on a journey of healing. They aren’t necessarily looking for a quick fix, but they are looking for answers, answers that they aren’t finding in the typical health paradigm of Western Medicine. Our clients want to know why their bodies aren’t functioning the right way and how to go about feeling better overall in more than just one body part. I mean, how many times have you been to a doctor appointment where you spent maybe 10 minutes with the doc, and you left wondering if they really heard you or you got your questions answered? Here our clients have got someone who knows their medical and emotional history, their eating habits, their sleep patterns, they have a safe place and a trusted practitioner they can sometimes even divulge their deepest darkest secrets. It’s because we take the time to get to know them, they’re not lost in the shuffle. They also know that if we can’t help, we are a good resource and often recommend other health professionals or disciplines that could be instrumental in getting them where they want to go. Sometimes, in healing especially, it takes a village.
Of course we do help those who have specific short term needs for “quick fixes” so to speak. Sometimes folks have issues that are straight forward and quick to heal and we love helping them as well. We never want our clients to feel they have to rely on us forever to keep them out of trouble. We encourage them to get out there on their own and be as independent as possible as quickly as possible. We are just really honored that so many of them do continue to see us because we make them feel better, we care about them and we are invested in their growth.
So even though we are skilled and knowledgeable physical therapists, the client-therapist relationship may just be our special sauce here in the journey toward healing. We love what we do and can’t imagine doing anything else.