emotional burnout, client resentment

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emotional burnout, client resentment

Postby bodywisdomcenter on Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:50 pm

I've never met another MT with this issue.

After 13 years of a wonderful and highly successful massage practice, I'm finding myself burning out emotionally. Where I see this manifesting is with chatty clients. If a client has a true issue, then I have no problem listening with understanding and compassion. It's the ones that lay there and talk incessantly about nothing, blabbing mindlessly on and on about tv shows, their weekend, recipes and shopping. The noise is exhausting.

I have tried to encourage this type of client to be quiet for their maximum benefit, but they say "oh I love talking to you". There are some who take forever to get on the table or to leave afterward because they tell story after story. I know this is a boundary issue and I'm very good at keeping boundaries and gently moving people along, but how can I cut someone off as we're standing at the door and say "ENOUGH, we've been here for 20 minutes talking about your dog...please leave!" I have begun to resent those who talk and talk, especially when I'm trying to focus on my work or when they are cutting into my time between session.

I need to work to pay my bills, but I have begun to cut back my number of sessions to help me deal with the emotional burnout. Regardless, I still find myself cringing knowing that a talker is coming in.

Any suggestions?
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Re: emotional burnout, client resentment

Postby GreenDragonfly on Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:18 pm

bodywisdomcenter wrote:I need to work to pay my bills, but I have begun to cut back my number of sessions to help me deal with the emotional burnout. Regardless, I still find myself cringing knowing that a talker is coming in.

Any suggestions?


I don't have an answer for you and I am looking forward to hearing the replies you get. I can relate to the feeling you are having, I think we have all felt that way at some time or another.

I've had some extreme talkers and didn't know quite how to handle it in the past also. One lady in particular, I just could not get away or get a word in edgewise to even tell her I was leaving and the session had ended. I ended up having to talk OVER her to tell her the session is over and I had to go, there were other clients waiting. We had already gone over by a good 8-10 minutes (my first mistake) and I was standing there, just standing there for like 5 minutes as she talked on and on. So... she just kept talking... and ended up just saying "OK" and then left the room. :smt009 :shock: I didn't feel at the time it was the best way to handle the situation, so I am still interested in knowing what others would do with someone like that.

I can't imagine a stream of people like that, but I would think it would force me to find a way to deal with it! Sorry you are feeling burnt out! :smt056
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Re: emotional burnout, client resentment

Postby jdcan on Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:37 pm

Possible options:

Say "I'd love to stay and talk with you but I have someone coming in soon and need to ...prepare or eat or change things out, whatever."

Mention something in the beginning about having someone after them.

Start them face down and leave the room for a couple of minutes "so they can relax."
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Re: emotional burnout, client resentment

Postby softy515 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:08 pm

Your feelings are exactly how I have been feeling towards some clients. And yes I have told them I have another client or have to get to another location and they still go on and on about stuff completely unrelated to them and their health.

I try to be compassionate, maybe this person really doesn't have anyone else listening to them.

I wish I had a suggestion for you. Basically take some deep breathes. I do try to walk them out to motivate them too. Of course now the set up of my office changed and I have to take money and reschedule in the massage room. For some reason, folks seem to think that I want to hang out with them while they finish dressing, doing hair, getting water, ect. Very soon I will be telling some of these ladies that there is a bathroom they can use on their way out. Because believe it or not, some have left all their stuff in the massage room while they went to the bathroom.

Gotta say, this is why i like working on men. They are up and out.
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Re: emotional burnout, client resentment

Postby Taoist on Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:30 pm

Thankfully, my clients all figure out that I'm not much of a talker and if they want interaction from me, they'll ask massage-related questions which I am more than happy to answer ;) .

As for your situation though, I think it would be best to find a way to be more direct with your clients. I've had the unfortunate experience of saying something along the lines of "I'd love to be able to chat, but...(whatever excuse here)" only to be trapped in the line at the bank because I lied about actually wanting to talk. I found this post made on a topic regarding another therapist's loud client: (Read the post here)
Rubmyster wrote:Greetings all.
On a humourous note this could be a Sienfeld episode: "The Long Talker."

After reading the post I wanted to share something that might be helpful. Last month I took my SO to the neurologist for a migraine med. refill. There was an elderly gentleman there who was talking loudly for quite some time. I surveyed the waiting room and many of the patients just rolled their eyes. The man finally left after about 10 minutes and then returned :shock:
As her continued on his rant about something: I saw a doctor come out of his office and tell the man that he had been there too long, they needed him to leave to run the practice and that he must go immediately.

I was so impressed that the doc was assertive, didn't shame the man, and got the job done. 8)
The man remarked that he didn't have his hearing aid in and was surprised that he talked so loud.


:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

I wanted to stand up and applaud the doc for his great job.

So, the point I'm trying to make is that it is our job to give people limits on how to behave in our offices. We have a schedule to maintain, other clients to see, and people working within earshot of our practice. While it may feel painful at first, I see nothing wrong with telling a talkative client that they need to limit the volume, tone, etc.
I also agree that signs don't work.

just my 2cents,
Rubmyster

I hope this helps! If your clients quiet down and you're still feeling burnt out, it could be that there's some other underlying cause for your burn-out and client resentment. You might need to really analyze the dynamics of your entire practice, not just interaction with your clients.
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Re: emotional burnout, client resentment

Postby JasonE on Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:26 pm

I enjoy spending a few extra minutes chatting with clients. But, but when I am short on time, I'll bring the fresh linens for the next client in with me, chat very briefly, then say something like, "I'm glad you enjoyed the session and wish to chat, but I have another person waiting to see me next. So, I've gotta boot you out of here to get this room ready. Our receptionist will take care of you out front and set up your next appointment." Of course, I smile as I say it and usher them towards the lobby. :grin:
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Re: emotional burnout, client resentment

Postby bodywisdomcenter on Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:20 pm

What wonderful, thoughtful posts from every one of you. How good it feels to know I'm not alone in my experience! After reading your replies, I can see that the problem lies with me. I am not consistent with my clients. Some days I'm feel fresh and upbeat and when they want to talk I don't discourage it. Other days I'm more tired and the talking bothers me. I need to be consistent in my boundaries, not waver them according to my mood. Secondly, I need to be more clear on my expectations after the massage. That I dont' have time to chitchat as someone else is coming in and I must return phone calls, etc.

I have found in the past that being very very clear helps, although there are still those that need reminding. One area where I"m crystal clear is that if I write 1:00 on their card, that means the tablework begins at 1:00 and they need to be in my office at 12:50 to get undressed, discuss their needs, etc. Once I made this clear, everyone started coming 10 minutes before their session. If they dont', I just end the session at the appointment time and they get a shorter session.

Funny how easy that is for me but the talking thing is so difficult. And as far as men versus women....one of my WORST talkers is a man!

Thank you all again for taking the time to address my concern. I really appreciate it!
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Re: emotional burnout, client resentment

Postby Taoist on Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:24 pm

bodywisdomcenter wrote:What wonderful, thoughtful posts from every one of you. How good it feels to know I'm not alone in my experience! After reading your replies, I can see that the problem lies with me. I am not consistent with my clients. Some days I'm feel fresh and upbeat and when they want to talk I don't discourage it. Other days I'm more tired and the talking bothers me. I need to be consistent in my boundaries, not waver them according to my mood. Secondly, I need to be more clear on my expectations after the massage. That I dont' have time to chitchat as someone else is coming in and I must return phone calls, etc.

I have found in the past that being very very clear helps, although there are still those that need reminding. One area where I"m crystal clear is that if I write 1:00 on their card, that means the tablework begins at 1:00 and they need to be in my office at 12:50 to get undressed, discuss their needs, etc. Once I made this clear, everyone started coming 10 minutes before their session. If they dont', I just end the session at the appointment time and they get a shorter session.

Funny how easy that is for me but the talking thing is so difficult. And as far as men versus women....one of my WORST talkers is a man!

Thank you all again for taking the time to address my concern. I really appreciate it!

Keep us updated on how things go for you!
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Re: emotional burnout, client resentment

Postby bodywisdomcenter on Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:23 am

I sure will! Thanks for the interest and help. Liz
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Re: emotional burnout, client resentment

Postby pueppi on Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:21 am

bodywisdomcenter wrote:...the talking thing is so difficult.


Possibly send out a document...

"We're moving toward silent and mindful bodywork, please start thinking in these terms over your next few sessions..." :smt016
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Re: emotional burnout, client resentment

Postby bodywisdomcenter on Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:20 pm

pueppi wrote:
bodywisdomcenter wrote:...the talking thing is so difficult.


Possibly send out a document...

"We're moving toward silent and mindful bodywork, please start thinking in these terms over your next few sessions..." :smt016



Oh, such a great idea! Silent and Mindful. Powerful. Thank you!
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Re: emotional burnout, client resentment

Postby pueppi on Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:53 pm

You're welcome!

If you send out a letter, please follow up and let us know what it looked like and the response. :)
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