Here are 4 useful tips on optimising your time in order to be more efficient in your therapy practice.
- Using your sector for optimal change
What therapy techniques are you superb at? What therapy techniques do your clients respond best to?
Where the answers to these two questions intersect, this is your sector for optimal change. Here, you will often achieve quick wins with your client, have ‘movement’ and plenty of progress. This will motivate your client and you as a therapist.
Conversely, if you’re using an approach that doesn’t work for the client, for example, if you are brilliant at authoritarian work, yet your client hates being told what to do, then something needs to change. It is easier for you to change your approach, than attempt to get the client to change their receptivity (they are more likely to go somewhere else!).
This ‘sector for optimal change’ is not fixed. It will change as you progress through therapy with the client. Their needs and desires will evolve as they achieve momentum in the change process.
- Purposeful work
Whatever the client’s knowledge, understanding, thoughts, ideas and motivation for the session, then your initial consultation and treatment planning can be used to help develop them beyond that point. By helping your client become better informed and higher motivated, you are adding value and purpose, so increasing engagement and client participation. By understanding what needs to happen and what will be the outcome, the client knows clearly where the session is headed. If they disagree, there is time to change focus and to clarify their ‘therapeutic goal’. Far better at this point than at the end, when they say it hadn’t gone the way they wanted.
“So that” are your special words here. “We will be focusing on healthy eating motivation during this session, so that you will be able to cope well with the social function you are attending next week”. These special words are not just for the start of the session either. By using them to address the “What’s in it for me?” aspect throughout the session, you are helping the client remained focused on their key objectives. For example, “You will practice your breathing exercises daily, so that when you are feeling stressed you will be able to use them effortlessly”
- Resources, resources, resources
There is no need to reinvent the wheel with each new client. When you create a wonderful metaphor for one client, make a note of it. Create a log of useful stories so you can call on them and re-use them for other clients, this helps you reduce the amount of time you spend preparing for each new client. You can also recycle well-established techniques by taking a new perspective on them. What works great for public-speaking anxiety can also be adapted to enhance sporting performance. Not only are you being efficient with your time resources, you are allowing yourself space and time to create new resources, which you can then also re-use and recycle.
Group and peer supervision and practice groups are great ways of sharing good practice. It is also an ideal place to recycle effective techniques. You are able to teach each other how your technique works from a practitioner perspective. In exchange, you will learn techniques from those you have taught. This can reduce the amount of time that you may spend seeking out new approaches, learning them and finding out how they work. Someone else will have ‘road-tested’ them for you.
- Business management
Finally, as hypnotherapy is a business, are there areas in your business management where you could reduce duplication and effort? The classic 80/20 principle can be helpful here. Are you spending 80% of your time for 20% of your achievements? Do you laboriously enter all your receipts into a spreadsheet and have a complex analysis for your accountant, when a stapled pack of them or a simple typed list would be sufficient?
Are there marketing and advertising strategies that you can recycle? When you are creating advertising campaigns (e.g. Facebook), look back at past campaigns and notice what worked well. Explore which aspects of that campaign you could re-cycle to work effectively for your new campaign.
How about administration work that you could re-use? Do you have standard template letters that you can adapt to send to GP’s and other healthcare professionals? Rather than writing a letter from scratch each time, adapting a pre-structured letter will save you time and effort. Giving you more time to do other productive and creative work.
Business networking meetings are a great resource for the busy therapist. Just as in your supervision and practice group meetings you can share and learn therapy knowledge, skills and resources, so here you can develop your hypnotherapy business skills and reduce the amount of time you need to devote to individual networking. Whether it’s being able to re-use good accountancy tips, or finding a way to recycle another business’s sales promotion strategy, someone else will have done the majority of the work (their 80/20) helping you achieve the opposite and gaining 80% of benefit from 20% of work.
Even if you are not yet a very busy therapist, optimising your use of time can give you the room to grow and expand your business, whilst keeping the running of that business efficient.
We hope that this blog on time optimisation for the busy therapist has been helpful to you. If you have any more questions about this topic or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Dr Kate Beaven-Marks