Are you simply supervising your clients as they work on exercises that someone else has prescribed to them? Or are you independently making treatment decisions based upon your assessment when a referring practitioner has already given you their diagnosis?
Even with a diagnosis in hand from another health care provider, I know you’re still going to do your own testing. Your testing will look like whatever falls within your own scope of practice and sphere of competence.
If you’re in clinical practice like me, you’ll always be looking at posture, balance, gait, functional movements, fascial tension and musculoskeletal strength. Depending upon the symptoms reported by your clients, you may also be doing a neurological screen.
This thorough approach to your first session is important to your client for a few reasons:
I know that you’ve asked for and received your client’s information one to three days before your assessment date. You’ve set aside 30 to 60 minutes to review your new client’s health and treatment history. You’ve found areas where more information is required, understood the thought process of previous or co-treating practitioners, and you’ve already put some thought into the various assessment tests you’ll do during your initial session.
At the beginning of your first appointment, verbal or written consent has been given by your client following your review of your privacy, billing and scheduling policies. You have answered any questions about administrative concerns very clearly and ensured that cancelled appointments and their associated fees are well understood. Your client also knows how much your professional rate is, whether you charge GST/HST and when and how to pay you.
Following your assessment, you’ll make sure to leave 10 to 15 minutes at the end of your session to review one to three very simple movements that your client can begin to practice on their own.
Will they do a few exercises twice a day, as you are really hoping they would? (I see you with your fingers crossed and hopping up and down with glee!) Or maybe they can commit to doing all of their exercises at least once a day? (Some excitement here too, I see!) Or do they expect your ‘treatment’ to occur just when you are beside them with some sort of passive electrotherapeutic machine or mobilizing hands at the ready? (Oh, here it is - the frowny face)
Remember that kinesiologists are fully able to independently assess their own clients, as well as treat their clients with many different kinds of care. We are treating practitioners!
This is such an important consideration and will be very key to your client's transformation to good health. How much is your client able (and willing) to do on their own? What kind of support will they need?
I usually recommend working with my clients twice a week for the first two to three weeks to start. If they are willing to do more on their own, we can discuss treatment sessions once a week. If they are not going to be able to do any homework, well, there may be another movement therapist or body worker willing to accept them as a client, but our relationship likely won’t progress - in fact, let’s make plans for a referral at the end of our first session together.
Once we start to see progress in the right direction (of course it’s a joint strategy) then we can reduce the number of sessions. This plan is often enough to motivate my clients in the right direction - for both of us.
After working with my clients two or three times, I offer to move them into a group ‘class’ either in addition to my one on one work with them or instead of my in-person visits. This maximizes my time - and my income.
Some of my clients have been quite willing to do this (it’s more cost-effective for them) whereas others really enjoy working with me individually and are willing to pay my full session rate.
My treatment sessions - whether I am counselling clients about exercise or nutrition - are usually 30 to 60 minutes in length, and more commonly on the 60-minute side. We can get a LOT done with these longer sessions. We often see much greater results than they may be used to with other practitioners who work in 20 to 30 minute appointments.
Treatment sessions can be made up of only exercise therapy if that is your choice, or you can add the education about nutrition, breathing and/or the use of electrotherapeutic devices like ultrasound, cold laser or interferential current. You can choose to do cupping, manual release techniques and then mix in weight lifting, yoga, ELDOA or any other option that you are trained in and comfortable providing.
This is where you can uniquely shine and create your reputation for client transformation!
Treatment provided by kinesiologists can look quite unique and may vary widely from session to session. That’s our gift and, ultimately, our client’s advantage.
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