February 1, 2019
We all say we are going to ‘leave our opinion at the door.’ But, I have to admit, I almost blurted out a reaction the day my client said, “George W. Bush will be remembered as one of the greatest presidents ever.” Thank God he was face downbecause my eyebrows shot up involuntarily as my eyes opened wide. I paused then replied inquisitively using a tone that implied historians today might not see it that way, “Do you think so? There were so many things he did.” My client carried on extolling virtues of the former Commander-in-Chief. To be honest, one of my favorite presidents is Ronald Reagan. But naming anyone the ‘greatest president ever’ is a bit of a stretch. Breathe. Smile. Effleurage. Breathe.
More than ten years after the fact, I remember one time in particular that I screwed up royally. (I’m sure there were others) During the very first session with a client, she was sharing some of the stressors in her life. Keeping 2 kitchens stocked with all the necessities was becoming a bit of a strain. She and her family lived in one home during the week and another home just down the road to keep the Sabbath. I found that very interesting. I didn’t know much about the rules of a kosher kitchen so I commented, ‘I can see how that must be challenging. Being raised Baptist in a small town, I didn’t have many friends who were observant.” At that moment, she almost sat up on the table. She was stunned, “You are not Jewish?” (She had been referred by a Jewish friend) I said, “No, what made you think I’m Jewish?” She settled back down on the table, “Well your name is Jodi.” Uh, okay. Needless to say, she never returned.
How do you handle crazy comments in the treatment room? I’m not talking about inappropriate comments; that’s a topic for another day. I’m talking about out-of-left field comments you didn’t see coming.
Me? I dance. Not literally, verbally. But the same rules apply: Don’t step on any toes and follow the leader.
Over the last -gulp- 23 years, I’ve been invited to Republican events and Pantsuit Nation flash mobs. I’ve attended educational sessions given by liberal and conservative elected officials I have donated to my friend, a Democrat in the House of Representatives and to my Republican Congressman. Schitzo? No, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just genuinely middle of the road and love to support heart centered public servants.
My point is my clients don’t know my political position. They feel that I relate to them right where they’re at. No judgement. I honestly don’t care if they are single, married, straight, L, G, B, T or Q. It doesn’t change how I approach their body if they believe in climate change or believe that global warming is an idea invented by China. (Okay -busted- a little dig there.) To the best of my ability, I offer no opinions in the treatment room. It is my job to facilitate safe, non-judgmental space. That means I get to leave my opinions, my party and my religion at the treatment room door. In doing so, clients are given permission to show up exactly how they are that day: mad, sad, bold, scared, celebrating or commiserating and it’s all good. Healing takes place in safe space. And that’s what I, what we, signed up to do, right?
Create the space.
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