What makes professionalism? Who is a professional and what makes them that way?   What makes my office look professional?  What should I demand from the people who work for me?

I think every small business owner struggles with these questions.   Acupuncturists have embraced a profession that is often associated with counter culture and so this struggle can go even further. If our core self is not the traditional “professional” then how do we keep our offices and staff looking professional.

It occurs to me that every acupuncturist out there represents me as a practitioner as well.   How do I honor those with other choices?   I remember people questioning some students at school who showered weekly rather than the culturally preferred daily or every other daily.   Certainly there is an environmental awareness in those who make choices to bathe less frequently but what does that say to people coming into our offices?   Where do we draw the line between what feels right personally versus becoming what our patients can embrace?

At a core level I think listening to the personal ethics.   Then you need to target people who can also embrace your core values.   After all, if you treat other people who understand that using less water is important environmentally and avoiding regular use of soap means less exposure to toxins, the fact that you shower only on Saturday is far less of a concern than if you specialize in geriatrics at a high end clinic.

As we realize we represent more than ourselves and everything and everyone in our clinic represents us, we can begin to see the picture we are painting of ourselves. If we don’t like exactly what we see, we need to work on changing that.  The image that needs to be changed may actually be our own image of ourselves.  It may mean focusing on people who accept who we are for the practitioner we are in the here and now and the not the practitioner we want to be.   There is no pretending in the acupuncture treatment room for either the patient or the practitioner.  Trying to be all things to everyone is not going to work.

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Bonnie Koenig has been a licensed acupuncturist since 1999. She is passionate about helping people find real healing and real health. In the process she keeps asking about our attitudes towards sickness and health. Only by being clear on what sickness is, can we ever find health.

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