resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Chiropractic: A Great Fit for the White House
Dr. Eric Kaplan is a New York Chiropractic College alumnus; a No. 1 best-selling author whose books include Awaken the Wellness Within and The 5 Minute Motivator; a chiropractor for professional sports teams and elite athletes; and even served as an advisor under the Clinton Administration to the President's Council on Sports & Physical Fitness.
NSAIDs No Better Than Placebo for Spine Pain
A meta-analysis of randomized, placebo-controlled trials comparing the efficacy and safety of NSAIDs with placebo for spinal pain concludes that among 6,065 spine pain patients, "NSAIDs reduced pain and disability, but provided clinically unimportant effects over placebo."
The Chiropractor's Guide to CRISPR
Science magazine's "Breakthrough of the Year" award for 2015 was described as "the gene-editing tool called CRISPR." CRISPR stands for "clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats."
News In Brief
A "Modern" Business Model. Acupuncturists may have a new professional atmosphere to consider, as a new concept is on the horizon - at least for one business.
Shedding Light on the Benefits of Heliotherapy
I can't imagine anyone not feeling good strolling in the sun on a beautiful spring day. The sun is responsible for all life on earth and is best illustrated along the equator touting the richest biodiversity on the planet, in stark contrast to the Arctic Circle and South Pole.
The Qi Focus: A Guide to Managing Stress
Stress, are you experiencing heightened stress levels? Your own, and your clients? Is Trumpitis getting to you? I recently polled a cluster of acupuncturists, Asian Bodywork Therapists (ABT) and psychotherapy colleagues on the issue.
Scope of Chiropractic Practice: Why Now Is the Time to Expand
In my January article, "Scope of Chiropractic Practice: Is It Time for Change?" I discussed the use of the term primary spine care practitioner, the loss of privileges to diagnose in Texas, and the fact that the definition of "chiropractic" varied from state to state.
The First (Only) Choice for Spinal Pain
The study on NSAIDs for spinal pain summarized on the front page of this issue is intriguing on a number of levels, the most obvious being the conclusion that "compared with placebo, NSAIDs do not provide a clinically important effect on spinal pain, and six patients must be treated with NSAIDs for one patient to achieve a clinically important benefit in the short-term."
Waist Circumference: A Conversation Starter (Part 2)
Now let's discuss the clinical approach to reducing WC and implementation in today's chiropractic practice. The primary intervention centers around dietary modification and lifestyle habits aimed to reduce adiposity, improve insulin sensitivity and ultimately, diminish systemic metabolic dysfunction.
Insomnia Treatment Based on the Yu Theory
In recent years, acupuncture has risen in popularity as a form of alternative or supplemental medicine for the treatment of many different types of disorders.
Making Sense of Liver Regulation
In Chinese medicine, the liver has the function of moving and storing qi and blood. In its moving function, the liver smoothly distributes qi and blood to the tendons, muscles and flesh through microcirculation.
Give Your Patients the Ergonomic Advantage
Prolonged sitting contributes to low back pain and is a health risk. When I discuss my POLITE technique practice recommendations with patients, ergonomics may be last, but not least!
Caring for Refugees in Greece
At the beginning of 2016 I had no idea what was in store for me, but I was looking forward to a personal retreat on the Greek island of Paros; a graduation gift to myself after 22 years of motherhood, and four-plus years of Chinese medicine school.
Good Works at the Canandaigua VA
Faculty and students of the Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (FLSAOM) of the New York Chiropractic College have provided acupuncture to veterans at the Veterans' Administration Medical Center (VAMC) in Canandaigua, New York since September of 2007.
How to Correct a Cuboid Subluxation
Cuboid subluxation is a poorly recognized condition, even though it is not uncommon. It has been described in the literature under various names: cuboid subluxation, cuboid syndrome, locked cuboid, dropped cuboid, cuboid fault syndrome or peroneal cuboid syndrome.
What's Bugging You? Probiotics and Your Health
An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel. Gut-dwelling bacteria keep pathogens in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.
Help Save an Important Chiropractic Landmark
The chiropractic profession has a splendid and varied history. Sadly, many landmarks have been lost to bulldozers and wrecking crews, such as the Ryan Building, Little-Bit-O-Heaven, Spears Chiropractic Hospital, and Clearview Sanitarium.
Treating the Terrain of Chronic Sinus Infections
Chronic sinus infections can be stubborn to treat, but the therapeutic path forward can be simplified when utilizing three distinct treatment principles which take into account the terrain of the body, and the way in which microbes grow.
5 Ways to Enhance Your Family Practice
Every practice has a personality style. A practice that caters to athletes, PI cases or adults, for example, projects differently to patients than a family wellness practice.
Integrative Cardiology: The Heart of TCM & Western Medicine
Patient centered therapy is a growing trend in hospitals that are expanding to boutique services.
Toxicity & Kids: The Importance of Environmental Intake
The old adage is true that children are not little adults. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has long known that the physiology of children is unique, as are the diseases that plague them.
Treating LBP the Right Way: Think Natural
An updated clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends spinal manipulation and other non-invasive, non-drug therapies as first options for acute, subacute and chronic low back pain, rather than pain medications, as stipulated in the original 2007 guideline.
December, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 12
Facilitating a Coaching Conversation
By Ben Benjamin, PhD
In previous articles, I've made the argument that in many instances, it's less useful to give a client advice than to provide coaching that helps them discover their own solutions.Here, I'm going to discuss one particular circumstance in which advice-giving is both very tempting and potentially very risky: responding to a client who's facing a major decision and asks you directly what you think they should do. The decision may be closely related to the work you're doing with them (e.g., deciding whether to give up a sport in which they've sustained multiple injuries), or it may have little or no connection (e.g., deciding to start or end a personal or professional relationship).
It's often hard to know what to say in such situations. For decisions that are very personal or far outside your scope of work (such as whether to file for divorce or make a risky investment), an outside referral (to a psychotherapist, financial consultant, or other professional) is probably in order. But in other cases, simply advising the person to speak to someone else may feel inadequate. Suppose the person is considering quitting their job. They've talked to you repeatedly about how much stress they experience at work, and it seems to be contributing to extreme muscle tension and chronic headaches. When the client says, "Tell me honestly — what do you think I should do?" What's the best response?
On the one hand, you probably care about the client's well-being and want to encourage them to reduce the stress in their life. You also don't want to be evasive or hold back the truth of what you think. So it may be tempting to say, "Absolutely, I think you should do it."
On the other hand, you don't know all the details of the situation and you're not a counselor (although clients with strong transference may treat you as though you were). Furthermore, this decision is so significant that it really needs to be driven by the client's own values, judgments, preferences, and desires. When people base critical life choices on the recommendations of external authorities — whether it's a massage therapist, psychotherapist, religious leader, boss, elder family member, or self-help guru — they don't get the opportunity to learn from their own mistakes and successes. That type of learning is critical for developing a strong internal compass, sense of competence, and capacity for making better decisions in the future.
Answering a direct request for decision-making advice isn't necessarily unethical, and it may even be the right thing to do in certain circumstances (for example, in a case of physical abuse). However, many times, you can do more good by having a coaching conversation instead. I've talked about coaching in general as incorporating several key guidelines: get permission for having the discussion; inquire and reflect more than you advocate; remain curious; and focus on solutions, rather than problems. There's one specific approach that I've found to be particularly helpful when coaching a client attempting to make a decision, especially when that decision involves just two or three clearly defined alternatives (such as taking an action vs. doing nothing). It can help the person to see aspects of a complex issue that they've overlooked, which — in combination with skillful questioning and reflection — often enables them to discover a creative, satisfying resolution. What follows is an example of how you might describe this method to a client and then put it into practice.
Client: "Tell me honestly — what do you think I should do? Should I quit my job or not?"
Therapist: "That's a hard question. This is a big decision, and I don't know enough to say what's going to be best for you. I do know of a decision-making method that's often useful in this kind of situation, and I'd be happy to walk you through it to help you get clearer on what you really want. Would that be helpful, or no?"
Client: "I was hoping you'd just tell me what to do! But okay, sure, we can try that method."
Therapist: "Okay, great. What I'll invite you to do is to first spend some time thinking about all the advantages of leaving your job. Focus just on the positives — on how that makes sense and could improve your life. Then you'll switch and instead consider all the advantages of staying in your job. Do you want to give this a try?"
Therapist: "Okay, so what's good about the idea of leaving your job?"
Client: "At the moment, everything about leaving seems good! I'm so exhausted and burnt out. I think if I got out of this situation, I'd be a lot happier and more relaxed."
Therapist: "Anything else that would be good?"
Client: "I'd have more time with my kids. My oldest will be going off to college next year, and I want to be more present for her while she's still here. Of course, I can't go without an income forever. I can't be unemployed six months from now. So maybe this is a really irresponsible idea, and I should just stay where I am."
Therapist: "So now you're getting into the downsides of leaving your job. Before we go there, is there anything else that's positive about leaving?"
Client: "Oh, right. Yeah, I think if I could pull it off, I'd end up healthier outside of this work environment. I'm not eating well or sleeping well, and I'm tense all the time."
Therapist: "So you're thinking getting out, or getting into a different work environment, would help you get healthier?" (Reflection/clarification.)
Client: "I do. In my last job, I took real lunch breaks so I'd get out and go for a walk. And I had time and energy to cook at home, so I was making healthier food for myself. I really think that away from this job, I'd lose 30 pounds and my overall health and well-being would increase dramatically."
Therapist: "Can you think of any other positives of leaving your job, or are you ready to look at what's good about staying?"
Client: "I'm ready to look at why I should stay. I know it's risky to just quit without having another job. I won't get unemployment, and if I can't find anything else we'll be in real financial trouble. At the same time, I'm so burnt out that the last thing I feel up to is a job search."
Therapist: "So, in terms of the positives of staying, it's the financial security?" (Reflection/clarification.)
Client: "That's right. I make a very competitive salary, and the benefits are good, too."
Therapist: "And beyond that, is there anything else on the plus side?"
Client: "Well, I do like the work I do. I feel like I'm making a real difference in the world. And I've gotten to meet a lot of amazing people."
Therapist: "That's interesting. It's sounding as though you like a lot of things about your job." (Reflection/clarification.)
Client: "I do — or at least I would, if the workload weren't so crazy."
Therapist: "And what would need to change for the workload to not be so crazy?"
Client: "Basically, I'd need to get an assistant. I had one in my last job. But this position doesn't have a budget for that."
Therapist: "So, if you could get an assistant, you might achieve some of those benefits you'd hoped to get from leaving your job?" (Reflection/clarification.)
Client: "Yeah, then it would be more like that last position, a lot more manageable."
Notice how a possible creative solution has begun to emerge — one that's different from either option the client had been considering before. The coach didn't suggest this idea, but just helped the client consider both sides of the issue (focusing just on the positives), reflect and clarify what was heard, and ask a key open-ended question ("What would need to change?"). Figuring out the details of a resolution would take a little more time, and this first idea (hiring an assistant) may end up not working out. But one way or another, this type of coaching conversation is likely to help the client achieve greater clarity. And it does so in a way that is much more empowering and motivating than simply telling them what to do.
Click here for more information about Ben Benjamin, PhD.
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