“If this technique doesn’t work, try a different one. That’s why we teach you multiple techniques.” -Majority of the faculty at any chiropractic school
Often, we hear this logic throughout our time in chiropractic school. Teachers, clinic doctors, even some school presidents say these things.
This logic is the “Tools in the toolbox” approach to chiropractic. It is an approach that breeds mediocrity in the hearts and minds of unknowing chiropractic students.
It is the thought of most of the school faculties that if you know more techniques, you can be more diverse and more effective in your practice.
Here’s where the problem is. The schools typically offer only one trimester or quarter of each technique. Instead of doing, for example, Gonstead 101 and 102 or Toggle 101 and 102, you only get the 101, basically the basics. Then you move on the next technique. On and on this cycle goes until you graduate.
Upon graduation, you have learned 9, 10, maybe 12 techniques, or tools, that you can carry around in your toolbox. The only problem is that your knowledge of each of these techniques is novice level.
It’s fine and dandy to graduate with exposure to diversified, Gonstead, Thompson, Toggle, SOT, AK, Activator, but when you only have a beginner’s knowledge of each technique, that’s where the mediocrity comes into play.
Avoiding the Toolbox Mentality
Instead of diversifying your chiropractic technique portfolio, and being exactly like the majority of other chiropractors out there, focus on only one technique.
It’s called specialization. Picking one technique, or focus, and studying your brains out to learn that as well as you can is how to separate yourself from the pack.
At school, people know I am an Upper Cervical guy. I don’t get asked questions about Gonstead or SOT. I don’t study those things at all. Ever. Some people do, and I will defer to them.
I have read a good amount of books on success and business, as well as talked to numerous doctors in the field. No one disputes the thought that you need to separate yourself from everyone else. In fact, specialization is recommended!
If you do what everyone else does, how can you separate yourself when talking with potential patients? “I do all sorts of stuff. When one thing doesn’t work, I’ll do something else.” Does that breed confidence or what? Not exactly.
If you focus on one thing, let’s say Upper Cervical, you can separate yourself from everyone. It makes you unique, and it gives you something to market.
Marketing yourself as an upper cervical specialist or upper cervical chiropractor, for example, is much easier than just a chiropractor. This may upset some people, but it is the truth. Chiropractic has a negative name equity in our society. No one can dispute that.
People are looking for answers to their health questions. They want to go to someone that can help them without a doubt. They don’t want to go to someone that knows multiple techniques but has a proficiency of mediocre in each one.
Specialization is the name of the game. So pick one tool, upgrade it, and toss out the rest of the toolbox. It won’t help you very well to keep it.