"When you are immune to the actions and opinions of others,
you won't be the victim of needless suffering."
- Don Miguel Ruiz
Stay Relaxed & Focus Around the Stressed!
Massage Therapists face the negativity and sometimes unrealistic expectations of stressful clients and it can significantly affect our determination to include relaxation and focus as a valuable part of our practice. If you ever wonder why some therapist say that we absorb the type of energy our clients have, then it is probably one of those instances that we get bad Qi from them during a treatment! Don't let that happen, there are things that we can do to remain relaxed around our non-relaxed clients!
1. Develop a barrier between you and the difficult client. Remember that their behavior and attitudes are just that: part of what they are or part of a long day! Sometimes, they are plain symptoms of their own life's stressors! Recognize the symptoms and what it is doing to them. You are there to relax them, so keep with the massage protocol and treatment plan. If they are uncooperative and continues to behave in such negativity, demanding unrealistic expectations, go along with the ride for that session then decide later if you will refer them.
2. Disconnect with your problem client. During those times that they raise your ire, either over the internet or during your phone conversations with them, do not make an instantaneous response. Disconnect for a while and do not act on your anger. When we feel angry and stressed, we are more likely to read wrong interpretations into our interactions with them. Sleep on your angry missive and practice the relaxation techniques that you yourself are teaching them whenever they are on your treatment table! If these happens personally, on a face to face conversation, just walk away and decompress. The best solution to this is to just remove yourself from the situation. You'll be grateful later on that you held off.
3. Avoid toxic clients from the very beginning. There are ways to do phone and email screening. AMTA and ABMP offers free pre-formatted Q&A tools for screening difficult personalities that you can access as a member! Take advantage of those tools or ask fellow massage therapists who have more experience and knowledge in client psychology! Stress can be contagious, so avoid these clients who transmit it right from the start! Remember that some people will make wallowing in misery an artform. In the slightest clue that you see some of these "Talented" clients - steer clear! If one of them slips through your screen, then you always have the choice of whether to keep or refer them.
4. Know when it is time to cut the ties. Good professional relationships are something that we should value, since it makes our practice thrive! But if the professional relationship becomes challenging and your clients begin to become unrealistically demanding, just too toxic or too needy to keep in your loyal "followers" and starts to sap you empty from good energy and stresses you constantly, then there is only one solution to the problem: get rid of them! It's best to let go in these instances, just move on as you need to!
5. Value the ones that radiate warmth. You have the means to control your bookings! Stay connected with the positive-thinkers! If you are expecting a challenging client today, schedule one of your joyous client to end the day! They will definitely cheer you up and broadens your capacity for tolerance enormously and will help you to feel more relaxed and happy after a "not-so-desirable" experience a-session prior!
As they say: "We attract people of the likes of us!" If you are a stressed and unhappy therapist, then chances are, you will end up having the same kind of clientele!
- Leo Feraer-Oporto