In the Clinic with Camille
a podcast for integrative practitioners
Listen to the Episode:
Do you have a habit of going over time during your consultations?
It's very common!
In this episode, I go over a few things to consider if you notice this happening regularly.
When you're first starting out, it's very common for your visits to run long.
However, once you're past the starting stages, I encourage you to think carefully about how this affects your clients and your own work.
Have a listen and let me know what you think!
Transcript of Be Mindful About Going Over Time During Your Consults episode
Hi there, welcome to In the Clinic with Camille. My name is Camille Freeman. I am a licensed nutritionist and clinical herbalist, and I mentor other highly trained practitioners who need help building and growing their practices or working with complicated cases.
Today, I want to talk to you about a phenomena that I see happening quite often, especially in newer practitioners.
And it's something I really want you to think about carefully. That is going way over the amount of time that you have allotted for a clinical visit.
Now, I remember my very first client when I was in a student clinic and we had two hours for the intake. There was partners who had to go out and see the supervisor, this and the other with two hours to do it. My first client, after it had been three hours, the supervisor had to be like, all right, let's move this along a little bit.
Now, if you are brandnew, if it's your first visit, if you're in student clinic, if you're just getting the feel for things, what I'm going to say here does not apply to you. It's just going to take you some time to sort out all of this. Your first visits are going to go over because you're just figuring out how to do things. Everything takes longer the first few times you do it and so forth. All right.
So if that's you, don't worry about this episode or just take it into consideration for the future.
If, however, you are out of student clinic, you've been in practice for a while, you're out there trying to make a living with your practice, trying to build and grow your clinical work.
I'm speaking to you right now. Many of us, myself included, think about our time as being a gift, being very valuable and for a lot of our clients, that is how the experience working with us, they often have never been so deeply heard as they are when they have a full hour, a full hour and a half, or sometimes even a full two hours to be with us and to really sort through all of what's been going on.
And that can be a deeply therapeutic and nurturing, nourishing time.
However, sometimes I find that practitioners think, oh, well, you know, I don't have another appointment, so I'm going to give them more of my time. I'm going to gift them with this extra time because they're so important to me or I really want to go through everything they're telling me. I love that heart of service. I love that focus on the client and willing to go over and above this idea that, that we want to over-deliver and really serve the client.
However, I want you to think about this from a different perspective and see if you really are over-delivering or if perhaps it's a little bit too much. Now, from the client's perspective, they have committed a certain amount of time, so if you've said your appointment's at five and it will last about an hour when it gets to be 6:30, they're often feeling very anxious.
Many of your clients have other things that they need to do. So, for example, I have clients where they need to pick up their children from school or an activity or their partner is supposed to be using the car. So they need to be home or they are supposed to be cooking dinner. And you going over by 15 or 30 minutes, has thrown the whole household schedule off because they thought they were going to be done. So sometimes it really is stressful for them when you are not ending on time. The same way it's stressful for people when you don't start on time.
They've made a commitment to be there on time. And, you know, we don't know what other things they have going on in their schedule.
So please think about that when you run over, if you do feel really strongly that you'd like to stay a few minutes over because you're right in the middle of something, or you need to get this last part of their story or whatever it is, ask them, please ask them.
Say, hey, we're running a little bit behind. Do you have 15 extra minutes?
Because I'd really like to hear about your digestive troubles or whatever it is. And if they don't, please wrap it up on time. But it's always best to let people give their consent to go over rather than just assuming that they are fine with staying there for as long as it may take.
It is OK if you can't get every single piece of information you need in the first visit, sometimes you're only going to get through part of what you would really like to get through, and then you can do the rest at another visit.
And y'all, if you've been sitting with somebody for an hour, you have enough information to start.
You do. Plus, what's on the intake form? There's almost always something very simple that you can do or that you're pretty sure is going to be a good fit for the client, even if you haven't fully explored their whole digestive tract yet or whatever it is.
So if you need to split up that first intake into two visits, that's all right. Some people have very complicated histories. It's just going to take longer.
And both you and the client may have other things that you need to do.
So please allow yourself to accept that sometimes things just take longer than you think and you may or may not be able to use all of that time to fully complete what you'd like to complete in this particular visit.
Just going to run over a little bit sometimes. And that's all right. It's kind of like the when you were in grade school or elementary school and you usually didn't get to the end of the book by the end of the school year because things take longer than you think. So it's OK if you can't get to it all in the first visit.
The other thing is to think about your own time. Sure. Maybe when you're in the beginning of your practice, you don't have another client right away. You do have the time to spend with that client.
However, you want to be putting the intention out there that you are going to be having more clients coming in when you spend extra time with one client that sometimes prevents you from fully booking the rest of your schedule from having the downtime that you need to unwind between clients to ground yourself between clients, to summarize your notes between clients or to just process and move into the next part of your day.
So, again, it's OK if you go over a little bit sometimes, but please don't get in the habit of going 15 or 30 minutes over with every client all of the time because it's also problematic in your own clinic flow.
And, you know, if you're trying to grow and build your practice, you want to get into the habit of doing what you say you're going to do.
If you say the visit's going to be an hour, do the best you can to keep it within an hour, start practicing, how can you get it down or say it's going to be an hour and a half and build that into your pricing schedule, into your scheduler and so forth, but be true to what you say because it's a matter of integrity for yourself and for the client.
The last thing I'll say on this is just this idea of over-delivering and sometimes, when we give the client too much time and when we go too in-depth into what's going on with them, it can actually be very overwhelming. It can be too much. Just too much presents, too much intimacy in some cases, too much rooting around in past experiences and health concerns and so forth.
Some people are totally afraid they'd happily talk to you about their health for four hours if you had the time. And that's what you know wouldn't be a problem for them. But other people really do need that break. If you said it will be an hour, they're counting on that, not just in terms of their schedule, but also sometimes emotionally and in the amount that they are able to process and move through in one sitting.
We also do have some clients who are physically uncomfortable sitting for long periods of time, so we have clients who have chronic pain. We have clients who have stagnation.
We have clients who have urgency and frequency when it comes to urinary system or their bowels, et cetera.
And sometimes these clients don't want to interrupt you while you're working, but they're really uncomfortable waiting for the visit to be over so that they can move around or get, you know, do something to help ease the pain a little bit or get to the restroom.
So think about that as well when you are keeping an eye on the clock and so on and so forth. All right.
So just a few things to think about that being on time is important and part of staying true to your word and your commitments to yourself and to the client.
I hope that was helpful for you to hear.
I don't mean to be judgmental or preachy, but just something to think about. We all have areas to work on in our clinical practices.
And perhaps this is one for you.
If you would like additional support around building your practice, growing your practice, talking to people about cases and so forth, you all you need to come and be part of Monday Mentoring.
This is an amazing community of practice for clinical herbalists and verbally minded nutritionists. And it's just an amazing community to get ideas and support around all the little things that come up around growing your practice.
You'll be surrounded by people who are actively in practice or who will be very soon.
And you'll get amazing ideas, incredible ideas about your cases.
You'll hear about other people's cases and so forth. We will be opening up again for new folks in April. We have plenty of room for everyone this time and a new slightly lower price. It's very exciting. If you'd like to learn more, just go to CamilleFreeman.Com/Mondaymentoring and you can read all about it and even sign up on the waiting list and I'll let you know when we open up again in a few weeks.
All right. Hope you have a wonderful week and I will talk to you really soon. Take.