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CAM - A Vow of Poverty?

by Mike Webster(more info)

listed in clinical practice, originally published in issue 184 - July 2011

Unless things have changed drastically over the last few years, choosing to become a full time practitioner in Complementary Medicine is also for many, a vow of poverty.

There are those practitioners who see their work as a vocation akin to a charity which is a choice, and scraping by financially can be a by-product of this choice. This article is not however about these particular practitioners or this particular choice, but about those who see themselves as perpetual victims of poverty, and wonder why it is happening to them.

Being a good practitioner in your chosen discipline doesn't necessarily mean a full appointment book as there are other aspects to be taken into consideration. Any practitioner who believes that adequate financial reward relies solely on their ability to produce effective treatments is in for an unpleasant surprise. Providing effective treatments is one of these aspects, although strangely and disappointingly, being an effective practitioner is not necessarily the most important factor in promoting a busy and lucrative business.

Self esteem and good marketing are key elements in a successful business in CAM; however the words 'business' and 'marketing' are often shunned by health practitioners and considered to have absolutely nothing to do with health and healing as a profession.

Ironically, my experience of more than 30 years working in CAM with a wide range of complementary medicine, has revealed that the majority of practitioners who turn their nose up at business and marketing also fiercely resent being 'financially challenged' and living on a borderline with poverty.

Ability, self esteem and marketing should be telling the public the same story about the practitioner and their abilities: that the practitioner is as good at providing the results that their marketing promises and that they also have this belief in themselves.

Skill Levels
Hopefully you are as good at your discipline as your marketing blurb says you are and can provide the results that the public expects (after reading your marketing blurb). If you have doubts about your abilities, do something about it before the public discovers this for themselves.

Self Esteem
High self esteem is rarely based entirely on ability, but mostly in one's faith in oneself. If you are good at what you do, believe it and the confidence that comes from this will be obvious to your client group. If you do not believe in yourself and your skills, this will be reflected in your marketing information and your treatment costs. This information subliminally tells the client that you cannot provide what they want and they will go elsewhere.

Marketing
For many people, and not just in the world of CAM, the word 'Marketing' smacks of sharp practice. Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses, who sells divers' watches that are not even waterproof; a car with 'one careful previous owner' being sold that turns out to be three different cars welded together. The list of horror stories is endless; however marketing is the way in which you bring your skills and services to the attention of the public, and this is for the benefit of the public as well as yourself.
To be able to market yourself efficiently, you need to view what you are 'selling' through the eyes of the public. An advert claiming that you work with meridians and change a person's Ki won't be of interest to the person in the street who has a bad back and wants someone to fix it.

Unfortunately, the Committee of Advertising Practice has severely limited what you are able to claim to be able to help, so it is well worth checking with your Society or Organisation exactly what you are allowed to claim. Be prepared to be disappointed!

Quality of Presentation.
Whilst you may be severely limited in what you can say to the public, what can be said and presented should be of the highest quality:

  • If you have a website, make sure that it is tasteful, clear, simple and to the point;
  • The same can be said of business cards, leaflets and other materials, making sure that the paper (or card) that the information is on is of high quality. This also goes for your envelopes, which is the first thing the client sees when receiving information by post;
  • If you are choosing to use recycled envelopes which have been used several times, please realize that your clients/potential students will subconsciously judge you and your services on the quality of your presentation, and will interpret receipt of information on recycled paper in a battered old envelope in different ways.

Fees
Very few clients that will come to you just because you are cheaper than other practitioners and those that do are very much in the minority. The majority will judge your competence by what you charge on the premise that you get what you pay for. Creating charges that are a risk to your ability to survive just because you feel that clients may come to you because you are cheaper, is an insult to your abilities, and a lack of understanding about human nature.

That you are a brilliant therapist and have cut your charges to the bare minimum, and still cannot attract enough clients to get by financially, will do nothing for your self esteem let alone your ability to pay the bills. If you get good results, make the quality of your advertising and your charges reflect this without apologies. There is no shame in wanting to be valued for what you do well.

Getting Yourself Known
There are many ways of getting yourself known, but giving talks is a way of having a captive audience, with an opportunity of speaking freely about your discipline and your own skills. Many organisations are looking for speakers as wintertime approaches, so seek them out and make it known that you are available.

Give demos, but don't be persuaded that giving free treatments are good for business; they aren't, and only encourage people to go for the freebies. Your skills have value, value these and yourself and present this confidently to your public. Make your fees reflect this value, and you are taking a positive step towards a life that is more financially secure.

When Head and Heart are not in Unison
How many times have you found that a client has unexpectedly cancelled, or you have found that the number of clients per week has fallen away for reasons unknown? Often these events are the result of a subconscious choice when head and heart are not in unison. No matter how much you need to pay the bills, if you would really prefer to be out in the garden, walking with friends, or spending time with a loved one your heart's wishes are what the universe will listen to and act upon.

Once you realize what is happening and can bring head and heart into unison, a transformation takes place. You can then want to be in the treatment room, and where you want to be has more power to make things happen, rather than where you have to be.

Whether you realize it or not, poverty in CAM is a chosen state of being. Value yourself and your abilities; reflect this in your thinking, your marketing and your treatment costs, and ban poverty in all respects from your life.

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About Mike Webster

Mike Webster has been involved in Complementary medicine for approximately 30 years, and is one of the most experienced Shiatsu teachers, practitioners, and practitioner assessors in the UK. He is a Certificated NLP Master Practitioner and the founder of Waveform Energetics, one of the worlds most advanced energy awareness, training and research organizations, with graduates and students from all walks of life in 10 different countries. Mike is also an operational Remote Viewer and RV Teacher.

In the early 1980s whilst farming on a small island in the Orkneys, Mike became apprenticed to a unique spiritual training group. The training he received completely changed the course of his life. Nine years after his return to Scotland Mike had a profound realization which became known as Waveform which he now teaches. Mike is columnist for a Complementary Health Magazine and publishes articles on Shiatsu, health, energy, and the path of spirituality in a number of periodicals.

He is the author of A Simple Guide to Voyaging the Energetic Universe available from www.lulu.com or contact the author directly for a signed copy mike@waveformenergetics.com Mike and his wife Stella live beside Loch Lomond in Scotland and provide Waveform and Remote Viewing workshops which are held annually in the UK . They can be contacted via mike@waveformenergetics.com   www.waveformenergetics.com

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