Wicked, Or Not?

Posted: February 18, 2011, 12:12 p.m., EDT

It proceeds to explain how, or why, the Witch is finally dubbed “wicked.” My daughter attended the play with me, and later it was still on her mind. She asked, “So does that mean the Witch wasn’t really wicked?” I thought a moment, and answered “Well, it all depends on your perspective, doesn’t it?”

It occurred to me that much like the Witch, our perceptions of our clients are formed by only the story we see when they are in our practice, and we are part of the cast for that scene. In reality, that person is really acting and reacting based on the experiences that led up to the time they entered our practice, and the anticipation of the events that will happen once they leave.

Yet we are quite quick to make judgment on these people based on the few acts when we share the stage, and we are left with our own impression when the curtain falls and they exit, stage left, out the practice door. Oftentimes, our perception identifies a person as “wicked” only because we simply do not know the entirety of the story.

There are times when our perception of the client is formed before we even meet them. As a technician who loaded exam rooms, I would cringe when the receptionist would hand me the next appointment’s chart and comment, “Wow, this one’s going to be tough!” I wasn’t cringing because I was worried or scared about meeting the client necessarily, but because now that other team member’s perception had already begun to form mine, which isn’t really fair.

It’s not fair to the client either, because they are being labeled by the very short act of the play that occurred up front when they walked in to the practice. I want to meet someone for the first time and draw my own conclusion

Myriad things could have affected their arrival, including but not limited to a misbehaved pet (either theirs or someone else’s), a misbehaved child (again, either theirs or someone else’s), or difficulties locating the facility or the department. A number of emotions can be affecting clients, including but not limited to concern over their pets, or the ability to care for their pets; frustration because the pets are ill or injured, or needed to be brought to the vet for routine care; anger over how they are going to find the funds needed to pay for the visit, whether planned or emergency; and nervousness because they have no idea what is going to play out during the visit. Any number of things can make this client appear to be “wicked,” when in fact it is merely a casting error.

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