I graduated from TCM school in December of 2007, became licensed in March of 2008, and opened a CA clinic (with my two partners) in mid-September of 2008. So, I’m a newbie. A newbie who has — other that a few temporary gigs waiting for Circle to open its doors — worked only in a CA setting. I figure it is an appropriate time to stop and take stock of how I’m progressing after 10 months of poking folks.
Where am I technique-wise?
I’m getting better. I’m still at the stage where I have patient’s walk through the door with conditions I’ve never seen before, but I’m now at a point where that doesn’t cause me to panic or stall. I’m becoming comfortable enough, that I have an idea of where to begin with someone.
Some conditions I have seen so often now, that I’ve had chances to experiment and find what does and not work. I have the inkiing of a feeling that I’m getting “my style.” In other words, I’m finding out what works for me.
Where am I confidence-wise?
At the beginning I had read so many Tan and Tung resources that I was convinced I could “fix” anything. Believe me, I got over that pretty quickly. I’ve taken some “failures” pretty hard, and had some rough days and weeks of worrying what I was doing wrong. I would have shifts where I’d wonder why everything felt off and nothing worked the way I expected. Slowly, I’m letting go of that. I’m beginning to let go of cocky confidence in my self (ego) and starting to gain confidence in acupuncture. I’ve seen enough people now that it is starting to sink in that I don’t have to seek the “perfect miracle” treatment, but just trust the needles and the patient’s inherent ability to heal.
Where am I communication-wise?
Hmmm. Needs work. Just as reading a bunch of Tan/Tung notes gave me a false self-confidence, I also felt early on that I’d read so much CAN that I “got it.” Since I “got it” I must naturally be communicating properly to patients. Only recently have I started to realize that I need to communicate clearly and with brevity. What do patients want to hear? They want to hear this will most likely help them, that it will probably take a while before it helps them a lot, and that they need to come “x” times at “x” frequency if they want to see lasting results. “X” has been my stumbling block. I’m getting a feel for what “X” should be for some patients, and more importantly, I’m learning how to be honest and say I’m not sure what “x” should equal, but let’s try this for a while and then re-evaluate.
Lisa’s recent blogs on Finding Normal have been helpful and eye opening. Lately, I’ve been listening to the words that come out of my mouth when I’m talking to patients, and wondering if they are honest and how they sound to the patient. I’m not sure where I’m headed in this exercise, but it seems to be headed down the path of “holding space” for people that Lisa writes about. I’m not sure how to articulate what I’m learning right now, but I’ll report back in the future.
Where am I as a business owner/partner?
Hoo boy. Last month I acted like a royal jerk to one of my partner-punks. Big display of foot-in-mouth and assiness. Much of what I said came from a place of ego. Hopefully, I’ve learned from that experience. A partnership is a precious oportunity to learn how to give space to another person to be themself. Sometimes you learn that lesson by ramming your head into a (metaphorical) brick wall.
Running a business is new to me. At times I’ve felt odd or uncomfortable talking about how to get more patients, and how to market to people. That is beginning to shift. The more I come from a place of having confidence in acupuncture (instead of my genius) the more marketing comes naturally. Getting more people in the door and sitting in chairs is less of a financial desire, and more of an ethical imperative.
Where do I want to be in the future?
Not sure. After writing all of the above statements, I want to dive further into the meaning of having confidence in acupuncture and removing my ego from the process. I want to do more CA.
If you are a student or new-punk reading this and thinking about going the CA route. Do it. You have nothing to loose but your ego, and you’ll gain a lot of experience getting there.