By Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT
I am not sure how many of you have had the opportunity to read Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog? It is a wonderful read! In his book, the author explores the power of overcoming procrastination. He advises that we should all eat our “frogs” (unpleasant challenges) beginning with the ugliest ones first!
I am afraid that physical therapy is one of those activities. For years, we joked that physical therapy was an acronym for “Pain & Torture”! Dealing with pain or limitations can be frustrating and results that take four to six weeks to obtain are less motivating than the perceived quick fix from a pill that acts in twenty minutes or an adjustment that feels better fast.
How can we reframe physical therapy to be less daunting and lead our potential patients to seek care now? I call it: FBI Focus, Brand, and Involve.
Focus: Our focus on the initial consultation and evaluation must establish the components of knowledge, caring, and compassion. Listen, empathize, explain, and engender confidence in your patient. Be the practitioner that finally hears the patient and offers education along with a long-term solution.
Brand: Branding must be powerful. We not only get you back, we get you better.
Our testimonials and our short-term goals must be incremental:
- “After my first visit, I immediately felt better and had answers to so many questions about my condition.”
- “I looked forward to each visit where the therapist provided hands-on relief for my pain.”
- “I left my therapy visit with another strategy, and sense that I was in the right place, in the hands of the right person to finally solve my problem!”
Involve: Our skills must be combined with the participation, input, and involvement of our patients.
Rather than being a quick fix approach, we must talk to our patients about how their condition and ultimately its resolution with physical therapy and their personal involvement can be managed resulting in a better lifetime of health and well-being.
Ultimately we must make physical therapy less of an ugly frog and create an urgency to obtain a better solution for their pain and limitations.
Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT, is president and consultant of Steffes & Associates, a national rehabilitation consulting group focused on marketing and program development for private practices nationwide. She is an instructor in five physical therapy programs and has actively presented, consulted, and taught in 40 states. She can be reached at email@example.com..