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20 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k m a rc h /a p r i l 2 0 2 1 best practices | BLUEPRINT FOR SUCCESS Commit to Confidentiality By Allissa Haines and Michael Reynolds It seems clear: We should not disclose who our clients are, when they come in, or why they see us. Boom! Black and white. Except . . . it's not clear. Client confidentiality is complex at its core and made more confusing if you get the bulk of your clients from word of mouth (which most of us do). I'm not speaking from a pedestal when it comes to confidentiality. I've struggled with the gray areas and messed up many times. I've learned from experience. Over the years, I've identified the most common situations that pop up, and I've created scripts to handle them properly. DON'T DISCUSS CLIENTS WITH OTHER CLIENTS Well, duh. But it's trickier than that. It can come up in an innocent way, especially when your clients are your biggest referral sources. Here's an example: Blanche (my regular client) buys her friend Rose a gift certificate. Blanche comes in a few weeks later for her appointment and asks if Rose has scheduled yet. You tell her Rose hasn't. No biggie, right? It's probably fine to acknowledge that someone isn't a client. But then Blanche nags Rose about using the gift certificate. And Rose isn't scheduling because she's got a tough health issue she isn't ready to talk about. It's none of my business, it's none of Blanche's business. And we just made it an issue. Or, if Rose did come in, we could say, "Yes! She used the gift certificate. Thanks for sending her in." But now we've just violated Rose's confidentiality. Maybe Blanche is actually a big pain in the rear, and Rose prefers to have some privacy. Some of this gray area could be easily resolved with a line on your intake form that says, "Referred by" and asks "May I thank them for referring you?" Then, you know it's cool to acknowledge the appointment to the referrer or gift certificate purchaser. If you don't want to violate Rose's privacy, what's the appropriate answer here? I like, "Well, that would be a great question to ask Rose!" or "I'll let you ask Rose that question." Be polite, smile. Most people will get it. If they press the issue, just say straight out, "It's important to me to protect client confidentiality, so I prefer not to acknowledge whether someone has or has not been in." SERGEY FILIMONOV£STOCKSY.COM

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