Many Chiropractors have huge hearts, great hands, practice members that love them, but there’s still something missing in their practices.  Referrals, payment, commitment to their adjustment schedule; these all seem to be inconsistent, and sometimes even non-existent.  Your practice members nod in agreement with almost everything you say.  Do they get it or are they just “yessing” you to death?  Sure they love you; however, they don’t respect you, your office or Chiropractic.  How did this lack of respect manifest itself, you ask?  You made the mistake of not setting boundaries in the doctor-practice member relationship.  Just like the teacher everyone loves because they can get away with anything.

In all relationships there needs to be boundaries.  If there are no boundaries, there will be a tendency towards complacency and an inevitable lack of respect.  Respect is always earned and rarely given.  Look at a parent-child relationship.  If the parent creates boundaries for the child, they will grow up with an attitude of respect toward themselves as well as others.  Your practice members have no problem with giving you respect as long as you create an environment of respect in your office.  If you allow the inmates to run the asylum, you are in trouble.

Some of the ways your practice members show you their lack of respect: decreased referrals, not attending a New Patient Orientation, lack of compliance with recommendations and payment policy.  Or how about this one: incessant questions about fees. How long is it going to take? I can’t come in any longer because of my insurance coverage has dried up?  These symptoms point to one thing… there is a lack of respect for the doctor.  The end result will be resentment on the doctor’s part toward people and Chiropractic.

Many reading this will not be able to agree with this concept.  Here is a scenario that will help you see the vital link between a practice member’s respect and trust for their doctor.  Say you are in your dentist’s chair with a painful tooth.  He says you need a root canal.  If you have respect and trust for your dentist, you say when can you do it?  You may not even ask the price.  If you do not have a great relationship with your dentist, you will ask how many visits, how much, how much pain, can the tooth be saved, does insurance cover this?  You get the point.  Does he have your best interest in mind or does he have his own self-interest in mind?  If you don’t have respect from your people, you will spend much time answering the same rhetorical questions over and over.

There are two main reasons that fuel a lack of respect in a Chiropractor’s office.  The first: most people have very low expectations of Chiropractic.  Number two: most people have been let down by doctors in the past.  Think of the emergency room stories.  There is a bad taste in their mouths. They have been taken care of by people who may not always have their best interest in mind.  When they finally get to our offices, they are skeptical and very non-committal.  And what do we do?  We skip our patient education procedures with these practice members.  Just like a parent giving in to the temper tantrums of their children.  What the practice member and the child need is the same… a loving but firm boundary about acceptable behavior.

Chronic missed appointments and tardiness are also signs of a lack of respect.  The more recalls you do the more appointments they miss.  Why is it that some people commit to care and make all of their adjustments?   RESPECT.  Every practice member in your office is the same.  They are all human beings.  Have compassion, understanding and boundaries for all.  Have the dignity and respect for them to offer your help in restoring or expressing their health.  Some of your best practice members were very difficult when they started.  There was a point in your relationship when you had to put your foot down with compassion.

A wise man once told us that there are a lot of people that need help.  You will only get a chance to help people who want your help, not need your help.  Many people will enter your office and say they will do whatever it takes to regain their health.  Let their actions speak, not their words.  Do they commit to your patient education procedures, or do they tell you stories of why they can’t commit.  A relationship with no boundaries of respect is no relationship at all.  When the symptoms get better or the insurance dries up, you have to replace yet another practice member.  There is a better way!  RESPECT yourself and your practice members.