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Massage Today
December, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 12

Predicting the Length of a Client’s Treatment

By Ben Benjamin, PhD

Question: When clients ask you how long it will take to treat their injury, how do you make a clear prediction?

Answer: I don't. I tell clients how long I expect treatments to take, but I make sure they understand that a variety of different factors may affect their recovery rate.

Among the factors that can affect treatment time are the person's general health, the severity and number of their injuries, the frequency of treatment, and how closely the person follows instructions about performing therapeutic exercises and avoiding activities that could lead to re-injury.

Every person heals at a different rate. Sometimes the treatment process is completed long before I expect. I recently had a client I thought would need several months of treatment, but who got better in just a few weeks. On the other hand, I remember a client with multiple injuries and little body awareness I thought would take six months to help, but ended up taking two years moving at the pace she needed.

So long as the client is making steady progress, the exact timing is not important. However, if there is no improvement seen after six or eight sessions, I usually will terminate the treatment and refer the client elsewhere.

I give my clients all this information, and it makes sense to most people. While many clients want to know up-front how long treatment will take - often because they're concerned about the investment of time and money - they generally understand that no one can predict what will happen with any certainty. All you can give is your best estimate, based on your past experience and the experiences of others.

Click here for more information about Ben Benjamin, PhD.


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