I have written before about the client being an expert on their own needs/bodies. I firmly believe this to be true whether the client knows it or not. Therapists of different sorts, doctors etc can all be experts in specific fields but when I see my General Practitioner less than once every five years on average, he or she is not going to be an expert on me.
What does this mean for me, a. as a practitioner and b. as a therapist?
I am in the position of having trained in both general and psychiatric nursing so when I have a health problem I generally have a pretty good idea of what it is. If I do need to go to the doctor, I usually know what is wrong and can tell the doctor who will inevitably want to confirm it before prescribing the treatment I expect.
In the unlikely event of my not knowing what is wrong, I know enough to ask questions that will enable me to understand the problem. If the doctor I or anyone else sees is worth their salt they will explain things in a way that their patient can understand and make an informed choice about treatment. With antibiotics for chest infections for instance, many of these are viral and will not respond to antibiotics.
Some doctors have taken to giving a post dated prescription, while they wait for a sputum sample to be sent to the lab for culture and sensitivity studies, knowing that around 80% of them will come back negative for bacterial infection and the patient will have recovered significantly enough by this time not to use the prescription.
Of course, this way of working will not suit all patients. Some will inevitably want to abdicate responsibility and just be given some tablets which will sort things out. This attitude is sometimes to be found, even in those who make an effort to live healthy life styles, eating the right food and getting plenty of exercise though I strongly suspect the attitude is more prevalent in those who do not do this!
In the same way, as a practitioner, I will always tell my clients why I am using a particular oil or working in a particular manner. I also give clients the choice of oils that will help a particular problem. The psychological effect of using an oil that a client can not stand will outweigh any benefit it might have. Helping my clients to be more in charge of their own health is important to me, mostly because it fits with my philosophy of life but also because it makes my work more interesting and I hope makes my clients more likely to return.
It may put off the occasional client who wants to give up all control but I feel, this type of client is more likely to go to their GP than to visit an aromatherapist so hopefully it won’t put too many off!