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Patient-Centered Treatment

Meet them where they are and be on the same team”.

This is one thing I told my extern this week when discussing patient compliance and setting realistic tasks for patients.

This was after a session with a BUSY type-A patient who is CEO of her own company and who was of the mindset of “I’m very busy, I don’t have time to practice, and I can’t change my speaking demands since my team needs me.”

SO I worked with HER demands, schedule and priorities.

I did NOT say, “cut out all of your coffee and wine, only speak for 3 hours a day, rest your voice, do drill practice of random m-words for 3 hours each day.” Because if I had said any of those things I knew she would likely

a) not follow recs, b) not trust me as a therapist who truly “got it” and c) possibly not come back to sessions.

Instead, we had a long counseling session.

I said “okay, you’re having 4 cups of coffee per day how can we reduce that to maybe 1 or 2 or switch your caffeine to tea instead of coffee?”

I said, "okay so you have NO time and you work 12 hour non-stop days. I hear you.

- Do you drive? (Yes)- BOOM, you’re doing hums and resonant voice work in the car.

- Do you shower in the morning? BAM, vocal warm-up time before your first meeting.

- Do you control your meeting duration (‘Yes, but I have to always get as much in as possible’) BING, well we’re making your meetings 5 mins shorter to 3 mins of straw phonation between back to back meetings.

- Can you spread out meetings across the day/week if you really had to? (‘I guess so’). CHA-CHING: we are staggering your meetings.

- So you say you forget to think about your voice during your crazy busy work day? Fair enough. You’re making old school post-it reminders for your computer screen!

See what I did there? I worked WITH her demands and showed her specifically HOW it was possible.

I also asked her how much of a priority this was (it was big) and if she wanted to deal with this voice issue long term (course not).

Nothing is impossible, it’s just how we prioritize and look at things.

As a voice therapist that is as much my job as the voice therapy techniques I teach 💜

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