Taking Time

Written by integrativetherapeutics on . Posted in The Body Mechanic, by Todd A. Forman, PT

Six months have past since I have found the time to pen an entry here. What have I been doing? Well, six or seven months ago, it became apparent to me that Integrative Therapeutics was going to have to find a new home. Our old space was no longer working for us on a number of levels. Most importantly, it was constraining my ability to take the practice in the direction I wanted to take it.

This was no small undertaking. Integrative Therapeutics had just celebrated its 10 year anniversary, and we were in the space originally designed and built for the company. We had developed strong relationships with the Longfellow club on many levels, and (perhaps most dauntingly) we had 10 years worth of stuff crammed into every conceivable nook of the office. Most importantly, though, I had to consider the impact of moving on the well established (and hard won) practices of each member of the Integrative team.

Thus began the long, and often painful process of stepping back and taking a cold, hard look at every aspect of the practice,taking stock of our considerable strengths, as well as our weaknesses. I sought advice from longstanding friends and clients, but only from those I trusted to give me an unvarnished opinion. Over time, I got a clear picture of what we needed to change. Once the necessary changes became clear, the work of the move could actually begin.

I thought that once I had the “answer” of what we needed to do, the rest would be simply checking off boxes. Little did I realize that the hard work was about to begin. I had to spend countless hours with real estate agents, attorneys, contractors, movers, telephone and data companies, local boards…I knew we had a lot of stuff to pack, but I never had any idea of the billions of details requiring attention when one moves a business.

When all was said and done (and, it is just this week that I feel like I can say “done”) we are in a fantastic new space and we are a much better practice. (I should take a brief aside here to say that, though I tried to do everything myself to minimize the impact on the rest of Integrative, I simply could not have done this alone. Each member of the Integrative team had a huge hand in pulling this project off; it became a transformative experience and, I think, made us into a true team for perhaps the first time.) It worked, and worked well, though it took a lot longer and a lot more effort than I was anticipating.

Given what I do for a living, this should not have come as such a surprise. Looking back, I am struck by the close parallels between a big move like this, and the daunting process that is rehabilitation.

When a client comes to Integrative seeking help, it is often for a rather complicated problem. Much like planning a move, we must begin by taking a detailed an objective look at the problem; in short we must determine what is working, and what isn’t. From there, we can plan a course of rehabilitation. And, just like the move, after the plan is in place, that is when the real work begins.

I am continually struck by the effort and commitment clients must bring to bear to overcome a problem. Consider the time it takes to simply come to the office twice a week for physical therapy. Including drive time, that has to be close to a 3-4 hour commitment (or more, for those that travel far). On top of that, each client must work daily on a rehabilitation program that often takes at least 30 minutes; close to an hour for some complicated or post surgical problems. Depending on the problem, this can go on from anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks or more.

It takes a huge amount of tenacity and time to reach a successful outcome in rehabilitation. I continually shake my head when I hear insurance companies approving 6 visits for a course of care, or 2 months of rehabilitation as a maximum for a given condition. Certainly some cases can be successfully resolved in that time frame, but the issues that can be resolved in a short time are usually simple and short lived. Longstanding, complicated problems take much more time. Just like moving a campsite that you have been in for 2 days is a lot easier than moving an office you have been in for 10 years.

At the end, almost everyone is happy. The problem gets solved, and clients can begin to resume the normal rhythm of their lives. But, like a move, or a home renovation, rehabilitation often takes more work and time than we thought it would. Seeing progress along the way as watching your goal get closer is an amazing feeling- part of the rehabilitation process is the realization that you do it for you. Clients feel an amazing amount of power when they see that they can literally take their health into their own hands and change it themselves.

Any big project is going to take a certain amount of time to complete properly. Just be sure to take that time, and you will certainly be able to move to exactly where you want to be.

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