Lately, I’ve been asking myself some pointed questions about my expectations and motivations with health history forms. I’m not saying that I don’t think it’s essential to know certain facts; I’m just turning the tables here and donning my detective hat to ask myself some important questions, as I do my clients.
I think of the health history form serving three primary purposes:
- Identify contraindications that might preclude foot or hand reflexology as a safe treatment option, and health conditions that might dictate a particular focus and/or warrant consideration in my choice of technique.
- A conversation opener. My client’s responses give us a place from which to begin a dialogue; to establish rapport; for me to find out how she specifically is affected – on all levels – by the situations she faces in her life.
- Establish what my client’s goals are for her time with me.
With the above in mind, some of the questions that come to my mind are:
- Am I asking too much on the intake form? Are my questions too personal? I understand how tedious and irritating it might become for someone on an exhaustive search for solutions to have to answer the same ubiquitous questions with every practitioner they visit. When all intake forms start to read the same, it might start to sound inauthentic; kind of like the medical operations that keep telling us that they treat “body, mind and spirit”. Might I discover more about my client’s relationship with herself and her challenges through an honest conversation rather than a long checklist?
- In our attempt to gain credibility in the broad field of healthcare, are we “medicalising” complementary therapies? I’m offering reflexology – a modality with very few contraindications – not a medical procedure. Should a complementary therapist’s practices be identical to that of a medic? Are complementary consultations the same as medical consultations?
How would you answer the above questions?
- How much time do you spend on an initial consultation? How many pages is your intake form?
- Do you think you get all the information you need on your health history form? (How many times has a client aroused herself from “la-la land” to inform you that that tender spot on her foot is from a recently recovered broken bone she forgot to tell you about?)
- What are “deal breakers” for you? Situations where you will not provide a hands-on session?
- How do you respond to a client who refuses to complete a health intake form? Do you attempt to discover why? Gather the basic information you need verbally so as to do no harm and hopefully meet your client’s goals? What do you say to get across your need for certain pieces of information? Do you refuse to give service? If so, why?
Whew! So that’s what’s been racing around in my head the last few days. Please share your thoughts and practices regarding the above; your input helps us all.