For New DCs: Patient Education and Motivation

The Chiro.Org Blog

We would all like to thank Dr. Richard C. Schafer, DC, PhD, FICC for his lifetime commitment to the profession. In the future we will continue to add materials from RC’s copyrighted books for your use.

This is Chapter 7 from RC’s best-selling book:

“Developing A Chiropractic Practice”

These materials are provided as a service to our profession. There is no charge for individuals to copy and file these materials. However, they cannot be sold or used in any group or commercial venture without written permission from ACAPress.


We described in the last chapter how an individual who is sick, in pain, or worried must be dealt with in a special atmosphere of understanding and consideration to lessen the anxiety involved. When health is lost, the sense of security is lost, and the person is operating on the basic motivational levels of self-preservation and threatened personal safety.

Patient education and motivation are two important solutions to this problem, and these are the primary subjects of this chapter. Professionally, these disciplines begin with and end with the professional services offered. Other major topics addressed include motivational communications, practice development, office systems, and auxiliary techniques.


While the doctor’s diagnostic and therapeutic skills help to restore hope and relieve some of the patient’s emotional stress, a strictly technologic approach is not always enough. A patient’s emotions and frame of mind must also be considered as a component of a patient’s holistic state of health. The state of rapport between patient and doctor can be just as important as the technical care provided, and this rapport is established on a foundation of sincerity, understanding, kindness, and personalized care.

A doctor has moral obligations and professional responsibilities for each patient’s health. Thus, the physician should anticipate possible patient stress by questioning the scope of everyday activities. This questioning and the resulting consideration, however, does not mean to conclude with blunt condemnations. The alert doctor will be aware that typical patients are not interested in the technical aspects of their conditions. They are interested in the removal of pain, discomfort, immobility, and how the condition affects their life-style. Therefore, it is important that the patient’s everyday activities, hobbies, work and personal habits be considered along with the clinical aspects of the patient’s condition.

Many years of study does not guarantee a doctor a successful practice, nor does an attractive office with a nice location that incorporates modern equipment and pleasant furnishings. These factors only establish an opportunity for success. Every professional needs new patients to replace dismissed and self-dismissed patients.

     Professional Services

Comprehensive health-care involves certain professional services to meet certain situations. Basically, all office policies and procedures are designed to support a chiropractic office’s four major services:

(1) consultation,
(2) examination,
(3) treatment, and
(4) education.

The initial consultation and history are required to help determine the type of initial examination procedures necessary to isolate the cause or causes of a patient’s complaint or complaints. The second consultation follows examination and data evaluation and is held to review the findings with the patient and recommend a treatment program or referral. Ongoing consultations are necessary to receive progress reports from the patient, to counsel the patient against harmful acts, and to provide education toward healthy behavior and performance. The initial examination is necessary to profile a patient’s structural and functional status at the time of entry into the practice and to arrive at a diagnosis and prognosis under recommended therapies. Periodic examinations are necessary to monitor the results of recommended therapies, challenge the prognosis, and offer data to objectively confirm a patient’s subjective reports. All therapies should be designed to assist the patient in returning to as near a state of health and resistance to disease or normal stress as is possible.

These continuing services are involved in most all cases to some degree, but emphasis is considerably altered depending upon the type of case presented and the type of health care necessary at a particular point in time. For example, the typical office will offer five forms of health care:

Review the complete Chapter (including sketches and Tables)
at the
ACAPress website