Asking the Right Consultation Questions
There is nothing worse than a client spending all that time filling out a consultation form, only to have the therapist ask the same questions and gather no extra information. Actually, I take that back - there is something worse; the therapist not acknowledging the form at all and leaving it at reception!
All that filling out for nothing! Not only that, but the answers on the form are usually very short, very vague, and leave a lot to the imagination.
The perfect consultation involves you asking further questions that build on the information you have on the sheet in front of you. Open ended questions are always the best; and remember, you can always ask more later on as the conversation flows.
Think about when someone asks you how you are - It is almost a reflex to say "good". Open ended questions allow you to gather the most amount of information rather than a closed ended "yes or no". For example, asking someone if they wear sunscreen everyday will generally render a "yes", however this may not be entirely truthful. Instead, by asking "How often do you wear sunscreen", the client has to think about their answer; and typically if someone is taking a very long time to answer, they are likely not using it everyday.
It is your job to fact find and gather all of the necessary information.
Let's look at a scenario:
A client has come for a consult, wanting to have some chemical peel treatments. She says she has had several chemical peels at other clinics in the past and "her skin has been fine", and she also says she uses skincare religiously.
Some of the questions you ask may include:
- How many chemical peels have you had previously? Has she only had 1 or 2? Or is she a veteran?
- How many weeks apart were these chemical peels performed? Does she have them regularly or once a year?
- Do you know what type of peel you have been having? Was it an enzyme peel, an AHA, a Jessner?
- Did you have any skin responses - Peeling? Shedding? Redness? Was she red after an enzyme peel? Did she not shed after a Jessner?
- How long did the responses last for? Was the response over or under what you'd expect?
- Did you notice any changes or improvement to your concern?
- Were you happy with the results you were seeing? If not, why? Is there a better treatment recommendation for them?
- What kind of skincare are you using? Is it a full regime of clinique or cosmeceuticals?
- How do you treat your skin after a peel? Does she have the correct aftercare or will this need to be purchased?
- Lifestyle/Sun Exposure/Medication? Do any of these things limit your choice of peel?
- Any contraindications to peels? Are you even able to perform a peel at all?
- What kind of work do you do? Is they work around heat, water, steam or sun, you may need to schedule the appointments accordingly.
- Do you have a particular budget?
- Do you have any special events coming up? Will they be okay with the possibility of redness or shedding?
- What time frame would you like to be working with? Is it in preparation for a special occasion? Is it achievable?
That's 15 additional questions that you could potentially ask to get the overall history before deciding your treatment course or homecare prescription.
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Yours in skin,