As practitioners our primary aim is to assist our clients to return to a healthy and joyful life. They may be experiencing chronic health conditions, may have lost their means to earn a living and their well-being.
However, sometimes, we as practitioners have a conflict around accepting and charging for our services.
It may be useful here to restate what is the basis of payment for healing and complementary medicine – the issue of money and healing. There is a fundamental law that governs this area and this is the law of exchange, the law of reciprocity, which says that when you give a treatment, the client needs to balance the exchange by giving something back in return.
This is the universal law and if you break that law by taking responsibility for your clients financial circumstances you’re engaging yourself in an entanglement that won’t serve you or your clients.
This area can also creep into our personal lives when you offer a friend or colleague a treatment with no charge. Firstly, by deciding who becomes a client, you are becoming entangled in their lives and secondly, you are ignoring the law of exchange.
Perhaps you don’t have a specific charge but you leave the question of exchange up to your clients – donations if you will. I personally did that for a number of years and what I found was that although many patients were happy to give a fair donation for the exchange many clients did not. And so they in a way got themselves into a situation where they were lacking integrity in relation to what they were giving for the treatment they were receiving.
This led to less than successful outcomes. When I stopped doing it I was more effective. Exchanging sessions may be ok for one or two sessions but in the longer term it too can become unbalanced. My practice is “I pay you for my sessions” and “ you pay me for yours.”
Fundamentally, it is in all of our best interests to decide what is a reasonable exchange for the treatment where patients can give and receive their treatment with integrity.
Of course this reasonable exchange may not be as straight forward as we would like. As mentioned, the reasons why many people become our clients is because they are not in their best health. They may have lost their ability to earn a living or they may have had to reduce their working hours which may mean a reduction in their financial income. So paying for complementary treatments can be challenging. Most complementary treatments are not paid for by the health service or by social welfare.
So how do you manage this dilemma? Take for example a person who is receiving unemployment benefit. If a complementary treatment cost €50 this may be the equivalent of perhaps another person paying €1,000 given their financial circumstances.
So how can we as practitioners take into account the various financial circumstances of our clients. This is a very tricky area. Let’s explore this further.
Many practitioners who offer discounts and free treatments often do so when they themselves don’t actually have very much money or resources and so this action ends up in depletion.
So, when can we offer discounts or free treatments that won’t interfere with the universal law? What I have come to believe is that once you have established a successful practice and you are earning a good living it is ok to pick a particular group of people that you would like to serve.
For example perhaps you would like to offer your services to homeless people. You can offer this service to this group of people and say “I will give service and I will allow the universe to balance that on the patients behalf.”
I think that this is a perfectly legitimate practice provided that you are not giving it out of your lack, but out of your abundance.
Lastly, a word about the emotions of fear and embarrassment which newly qualified practitioners may feel about asking or receiving payment for their services. These emotions may feed back into our sense of our own value and self worth and if we start to address these emotions we can then move forward.
At the beginning of your complementary service life, you may feel that the potential value you are offering to your clients may be low. Therefore, your fee should reflect this. As your experience and successes grow, your practice and client numbers will grow and you can then review the expected exchange based on the value that patients are generally getting from your work.