I just finished a session with a regular client who began our time with a sheepish, “I have a confession. I cheated on you last week.” To which I replied my standard, “It’s okay! You needed to get work done, and my schedule was packed. I’m glad you contacted another massage therapist and that she could fit you in! PLEASE don’t worry about it!”
Now I have a confession: this scenario happens quite a bit. I won’t lie that it stokes my ego a little when clients worry that my feelings will be hurt that they saw another massage therapist. However, the ego boost quickly dwindles, and then I tell them my thoughts on ‘cheating on your therapist.’
As a massage therapist, my concern is first and foremost for my clients and their well-being. Part of that is realizing that they might want and need more than I can do for them. With that in mind, I whole-heartedly encourage my clients to try other therapists. It is important for them to see who and what is out there so they either find someone who IS better suited for their needs OR to be able to fully appreciate the work we do together.
Either way, my feelings are not hurt. If they come back, I will continue my high quality treatment. If they find someone else, I am truly glad they have found someone who is able to meet their needs. And you never know, they may come back in the future.
Here at The Austin BodyWorker, we think of ourselves as a team of therapists. We have worked hard to assemble a high-quality team, who are complementary in skills but are varied in personality and specialties. We each have different skills and focus. As therapists, we see different therapists for different issues, and we click with them for different reasons.
I am not at all threatened when one of my clients books with another therapist in our clinic or at another clinic. There are many reasons a client has for booking with another therapist. Scheduling conflicts, availability and different massage techniques are just a few. I like to know the strengths of other therapists in our area so that when a client calls, and we don’t have an available slot, I can refer them to someone I think will be a good fit.
Asking for a referral is never a bad thing. You never know when you’re going to need to get in to see someone ASAP and having that backup therapist can be a lifesaver. If you happen to be traveling, we have a database of high-quality therapists scattered throughout the nation. You never know when you might need a massage in Houston, Dallas, Denver or Boston (just to name a few).
So don’t be surprised if we suggest another therapist in our clinic or give you another therapist’s number if our schedule is booked. It’s because we love you and want you to feel better ASAP. We promise.
Kate Ripley Maliawco – Owner & Massage Therapist – The Austin BodyWorker