Holding Ourselves as Equal
In any healthcare session you go to as a client, both the client and the practitioner have an equal part to play.
Whilst your practitioner will no doubt know a lot about their field and have much experience in the techniques they administer and the sorts of conditions or symptoms they often see, the fact is that the client’s own experience and what their body is telling them is actually equally important.
This principle could be related to any client/practitioner relationship, for example, seeing a GP, the dentist, a counsellor or a massage therapist. Clients can often be looking for an immediate solution or to be ‘fixed’ when they visit a practitioner.
If when we are clients, we are seeking ‘relief’ in seeing a practitioner we know can help us, we can tend to ‘hand the whole show over’ to the practitioner, so to speak, with the feeling that we don’t really have anything to contribute.
Listening To Our Body – Our Own Expertise
The fact is, that when we are a client, it is our body that is being treated in a session, and there is after all no one who is more of an expert on how our body is feeling and doing than we are! We can give important information and feedback to the practitioner before, during and after a session.
What would we convey to our practitioner? Well, the thing is that we are receiving signals from our bodies all of the time – as our body tells us when there is pain, when there is ease, or not, when there is stress and when there is something out of the ordinary.
It is, of course, up to us as to whether we listen to what our body is telling us, or not, and all of these types of signals are things we can convey to our practitioner, to give them a bigger picture of what is going on for us.
In addition, we can pay attention to how things feel for us in actually selecting a practitioner to see and then in going to see them.
- An example may be when you are looking to find a new practitioner, whether it is a massage therapist, a doctor, hairdresser, beauty therapist or lawyer. Do you listen to how your body responds when you see the ad in the paper or view the website pages, when you first speak with someone on the phone or visit the clinic for the first time. There may be small signs as to whether this person or service is right for you or not.
- You may ring a massage therapist because they were recommended and have a good reputation, however, on speaking with them you found them to be distracted and uninterested in what you were saying. On arriving at the clinic you may feel uneasy about something but you can’t quite put your finger on it. So you push through these feelings or ignore them all together and take the appointment. It is very easy for the mind to convince us that because of the reputation of the clinic or person you do not need to question or consider the responses taking place in your body or that another service or practitioner may be the best choice for you.
- Alternatively, your body will pick up on the fact that on ringing a new clinic for an appointment the receptionist staff were lovely as they connected to you and supported your needs in relation to your appointment time. On meeting with the massage therapist you may be touched by how at ease they made you feel and how you immediately felt relaxed.
As clients we seem to have developed a way to be in professional client/practitioner relationships where what we feel and know to be true in our bodies is often discounted and handed over to someone who really knows very little about us.
However, we are actually an expert (on how our body feels) and the fact is, when we stop to listen to it, we very clearly know what it is our body needs. When we look at it like that, is it possible that we have just as much to contribute to the session as the practitioner, albeit in a different way?
When we think about what the purpose of the session or treatment is, what we bring is actually critically important, for after all we are the one receiving the session!
In this way, we start to see that we actually can and should play a very active part in our own healthcare.