Monday Morning Motivation | When Patients Hurt You

Posted by Bill Esteb on Nov 9th 2019

One strategy for avoiding the hurt caused by patients disregarding your recommendations or disrespecting your career choice is to respond in kind, minimizing or objectifying them as spines, symptoms or patient volume statistics.

This is a defense mechanism. It’s a way of disengaging emotionally and spiritually to avoid the disappointment of those you’re unable to win over.

When caregivers protect themselves in this way to avoid rejection, they also eliminate the potential for the joy and soul satisfaction that comes from being an instrument of hope. It reduces relationships from being transformational to merely transactional.

The way out is to establish clear boundaries. Stop relying on the opinion of others for reassurance. Recognize that what patients think or do is not only beyond your control; it’s none of your business. Show up with certainty, casting a vision of what’s possible. When disappointments occur, temporarily feel the sorrow. Then move on.


Bill Esteb has been a chiropractic patient and advocate since 1981. He is the creative director of Patient Media and the co-founder of Perfect Patients. He’s been a regular speaker at Parker Seminars and other chiropractic gatherings since 1985. He is the author of 12 books that explore the doctor/patient relationship from a patient’s point of view. His chiropractic blog, in-office consultations, patient focus groups and consulting calls have helped hundreds of chiropractors around the world. His Monday Morning Motivation is emailed to over 10,000 chiropractors each week.