Do you have clients that forget their supplements every other day or can’t give up that daily custard tart? Are they saying they want to make changes, but then don’t commit to actioning them?

It’s important to realise that your clients are not self-sabotaging just to spite you! Unless you’re working with kids, they aren’t misbehaving children (and even if they are kids, it’s unlikely to be sheer naughtiness!). There’s a good chance they are just as frustrated as you are right now.

Like any other problem we face in clinic, it’s time to look at the root causes – not just the symptom itself. There are a few common reasons behind why your clients are struggling to stay on track.

They feel overwhelmed by their plan

You know that feeling where you look at your to-do list, and it’s so long that you don’t know how you’ll get it all done? Your clients often feel the same when they first receive a treatment plan.

There are a few steps you can take to reduce the overwhelm factor.

Tailor the protocol to the person, not the condition. A single mum with 3 kids and a full-time job is probably not in a position to go through an intense elimination protocol. Give them steps that are reasonable for them to achieve, especially if they have perfectionist tendencies.

Focus on the changes that will have the greatest ripple effect. If your client sees a significant improvement in their digestion when removing gluten, they’re more likely to stick with it. They’re also going to be more motivated if you then advise they do a dairy-free trial in 4 weeks time.

Walk them through the plan step by step. Tell them what you’ve advised, why, and how they can implement it.

Check in with how they feel about the plan. Are there steps they’re not sure they can take? Can you reassure them that if they hit 80% of your recommendations they will still see results? Make sure that the plan is compatible with not only their lifestyle, but also their mindset around change.

Give them a written or digital version they can access. This is particularly important if you have clients with chronic health concerns that can affect cognition and lead to brain fog.

They don’t understand the link between their problems and your protocol

Our clients come to us for a reason – to fix a specific problem or achieve a goal. Because of our training, we have learned to see past the symptoms and see the underlying causes, and create plans to address them. But if your client doesn’t know how your plan is fixing the problem they came in with, they’re less likely to take action.

The key is to connect the dots between what your client wants to achieve and the steps of your treatment plan. This could be as simple as explaining:

You told me your goal is to lose 10kg. After looking at your symptoms and your blood results, I believe one of the factors that is halting your progress is your thyroid.

Your thyroid is the key gland for your metabolism – if it’s not working properly, weight loss becomes almost impossible. These three steps here optimise your thyroid function.

This approach tells the client that if they follow your protocol, they will rebalance their thyroid and make it easier to lose weight.

They have underlying emotions or trauma that needs addressing 

Most self-sabotage comes back to an emotional block that is holding your client back. This block not only keeps them from taking action – it’s often a contributing factor to their physical symptoms as well.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how many hours you spend researching and perfecting your treatment plan. If your client has a pattern of self-sabotage, they won’t achieve the results that they want.

To release the pattern of sabotage, the underlying emotional driver or trauma needs to be cleared. It could be an experience from their childhood, a traumatic memory or a belief that they’ve integrated from their family or loved ones.

That’s where Naturopathic Emotional Release comes in. This tool allows you to quickly identify any stress, emotion or trigger that is keeping them stuck and release them – right there in the clinic room! Your client walks away feeling lighter and more motivated to make lasting change.