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80 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k j a n u a r y/ fe b r u a r y 2 0 24 Guiding Your Client's Wellness Path Through Treatment Planning By Cindy Williams essential skills | Back to Basics must invest time and money into the process, then commit to taking part in the journey through in-session feedback and consistent at-home self-care. This isn't to say that a single session can't create change or that a practitioner won't attempt to determine root causes and educate a client on how they can help themselves between sessions. But, as with any substantial goal, a long-term, dedicated commitment is imperative. And so is a plan! CHARTING THE PATH To prepare for a journey, first determine your destination. Then, look at where you are so you can find the most efficient path. In the case of treatment planning, find out where the client wants to go (i.e., how they want to feel and what they want to be capable of doing), then look at where they are (i.e., how they feel and what they are capable of doing). During the client interview, write down the answers to these questions to assist you in providing a written treatment plan. From there, make a list of necessities for the journey. This will vary depending on the extent of the trip. A person who wants to hike a 10,000-foot peak along an eight-mile trail would certainly need more time, food, water, and gear than someone who wants to hike three miles to an overlook. As you work with your client to chart their path, be realistic about the distance between their goal and their starting point. Consider their age, physical constitution, level of investment financially and logistically (how much time they can dedicate to sessions and self-care), and genuine mental and emotional willingness to take part in the therapeutic process. There's no exact formula for developing a personalized treatment plan; each client is unique. It's important to be honest with them and ask them to be honest with you. For example, if they don't think they will commit to multiple self-care recommendations, provide one that will make the greatest impact. Or, if they don't have the financial means to pay for two 60-minute sessions per week, try two KEY POINT • While treatment planning still involves asking your client about their needs, it calls for establishing long-term goals that can potentially create a dramatic change in their quality of life. Many massage therapists run their practices on a session-by-session schedule. After a client receives their massage session, the practitioner rebooks for the next session only. While this might be sufficient, it's worth asking yourself, "Is this approach in the best interest of both my client and my practice?" A good way to determine the answer is to consider goals. What are the reasons this client has come to you; what are their goals? And what are your goals as a practitioner? Is your aim to offer clients one special experience of relaxation? Or is it to be a guide along a personalized path of long-term wellness? If you're in for the long haul, treatment planning creates the map. SESSION PLANNING VS. TREATMENT PLANNING It's possible that when you were in school, the focus was primarily on session planning. This involves asking your client what their needs and session goals are, then breaking down how you will spend the time addressing those needs during that session. Treatment planning entails much more. While it still involves asking your client about their needs, it calls for establishing long-term goals (with short-term goals along the way) that can potentially create a dramatic change in their quality of life. It requires an investment from both parties. The practitioner must invest extra time and research into determining potential root causes of the client's experience, then design a path that progressively molds the body into the desired new state. The client

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