Learning to Say No

Many times last year I got requests I couldn’t accommodate.  Chiropractors offering to rent me a treatment room in their office, patients wanting private treatments, acupuncturists and other colleagues asking if I would do home visits.  Every time, I had to say no.

It was hard in the beginning.  Sometimes I was flattered.   Other requests were heart wrenching (the bedridden patient in the nursing home, the woman wanting end-of-life care for her mother).

I found that it became easier if I took the time to explain why I was saying no.  it was important to me that people realized that community acupuncture is not just a clever marketing plan; it’s a commitment to my patients to keep acupuncture accessible and affordable.  And it’s my obligation to avoid anything that doesn’t contribute to that mission (for instance, curtailing my office hours to drive to someone’s home and give a private treatment, however much they may need it).

As I began to verbalize these thoughts to others, I realized something interesting… I was also affirming the commitment to myself.  Telling myself, this is what I do– I treat people in a group setting.  I’m a community acupuncturist! 

Emily Konstan
Author: Emily Konstan

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  1. Thank you!

    It’s so true, Emily.  We can’t be everything for everybody.  When we try to do that, we muddy the waters of who we are and what we offer.  Those boundaries around our personal time and space are crucial for us to recharge our own selves.  Thank you for sharing some of your own free time with us, to write this blog.

  2. I’ve said no lately too

    one was to a woman who wanted me to treat a child under the age of 2 and do nutritional counselling (sent them to a strong herbalist/private practitioner).  The rest, and there were many, were said to the myriad of MMJ clinics opening up around the my area in Denver who want me to rent space from them.  There are as many MMJ clinics in my neigborhood as there are Coloradans total on the CAN membership list!

  3. MMJ?

    Maybe it’s bc I’m still on my first cup of tea for the morning and suffering from jetlag, but what is a MMJ clinic?


    It is so nice to be reminded that it’s okay to give ourselves permission to say no.  That saying no isn’t a negation of somebody else’s desires, but rather a positive affirmation of our own path, that, ultimately, allows us to serve even more.


    I also recently had to be clear (i.e, say no) to a lovely young mother and her 3 year old.  I used to see lots of young children in my private practice and was hoping to find a way to incorporate them into the community clinic space, but right now, it’s just not a good match.  I am a little sad to let that part of my practice go, but it felt good to refer them to the few good pediatric LAcs in the area knowing that the family would be much better served by more focused attention and consultation.


    So thanks for this post.  And, once again, thanks for this community!


    Julia in Berkeley

  4. Well said!

    “That saying no isn’t a negation of somebody else’s desires, but rather a positive affirmation of our own path, that, ultimately, allows us to serve even more.”

    Wow, I should have asked you to write the blog for me. 

  5. In my experience MMJ=medical

    In my experience MMJ=medical marijuana.  I don’t know if stands for anything else too.  It sounds like the medical marijuana clinics wanted to rent out space to CA punks.

  6. Linda is correct

    haven’t been checking in enough but Linda is correct, Colorado is the other wild west frontier of medical marijuana.  in fact 2 patients have licenses, but are getting more result from the treatments that they receive from me than from their MMJ.

    but I have been befriending the better run amd more medically oriented clinics and am becoming the acu referral of choice for some.