FHT Professional Development Conference: Lisa Pollitt

A Q&A with Lisa Pollitt

[Image of Lisa Pollitt]

Tell us a bit of background about yourself… (Why and how did you get into the industry? What did you do before?)

Hello, I’m Lisa, I live with my wonderful partner in Stockport and I have 1 amazing son who is now 30, where has time gone!  I am also known as Nana to 2 beautiful little girls (soon to be 3) through my partner’s family.

Growing up I always wanted to work in the film and theatre industry but it was my Father who told me to ‘learn to do a proper job’ and because of that I had always worked in an office since the day I left school, apart from taking 2 years out to run my own pub but when the smoking ban came into play (not that I am a smoker but 95% of my customers were) it literally nosedived overnight because back then no one wanted to stand out in the rain for a smoke.  At that point I made the decision to go back to work in an office.  I have worked for several different types of industries, from those who made mattresses not only for everyone in general but also for hospitals and not just your standard hospital mattresses but also pressure care mattresses to help those who were long term patients to help stop the development of pressure sores.  I have worked in the sports nutrition industry and worked for a company who shipped radioactive goods worldwide.

In 2013, my Father passed away after suffering for quite a while with asbestosis amongst other things and as I sat there one night contemplating life if you like, I decided I was going to go back to college to learn something new.  I’d worked in an office all my adult life and wanted to learn to do something different.  That something different led me on to the path that I am on now.

Are there any challenges you have had to overcome as a therapist? How have you overcome these?

I started my ‘therapist’ journey back in 2013 and had spent 5 years training in different therapies.  Even though I could have worked in this industry earlier it was only in 2018 after my Mum passed away and after I’d completed my Reiki Masters that I got this little voice in my head telling me that now was the time to take the next step and go and do what I enjoyed doing. 

It was such a huge jump moving from everything I had known, stepping out of my comfort zone, to setting up running my own therapy business.  Where would I start?  How would I get clients?  Where would I work from?  There were a lot of hours spent getting everything in place, from finding the right venue to creating my website and I’ve hit a fair few obstacles since I took that leap of faith.

I started off in a small room which was part of a large rehabilitation gym.  It was a good starting point for myself because it was cheap but in winter, oh my word it was freezing.  I used to have to go in about 2 hours before an appointment just to warm the room up.  I only spent 6 months there before finding another room which was in the back of a barber’s shop.  He had the front of the shop, and I had the back.  All was going well till he decided to shut up shop.  Then I had the worry of what I was going to do then.  I had 3 weeks in order to find something else otherwise I’d have either had to give up or put everything in to storage.

Then I believe someone was looking down on me because I’d rang somewhere I’d been told about which I knew wasn’t the right place really because it was another room in a shared building and not in the right place.  I was told by the receptionist that the owner would ring me back that night to talk to me about it.  That afternoon, I lost my voice.  I was literally squeaking by tea time.  The chap rang and my partner had to tell him I’d ring him back.  The next day I woke up and I didn’t even have a squeak.  I tried to talk but nothing came out.  Absolutely nothing!

Then I received a phone call off the chap who, I later found out, was to take over the shop I was in.  I let it go to voicemail because I couldn’t talk.  He left a message and I text back explaining I’d lost my voice.  He rang back again and because I knew he knew I’d lost my voice I answered the phone anyway and he basically said ‘I know you can’t talk so just listen.  I’m moving out of a shop into your shop and where I’m moving out of I believe would be just perfect for you.  The rest is history.

I moved in where I am now in January 2020.  Then god forbid, Covid struck!!!

All sorts of things were running around in my head but I had a plan and this was something that I believe my parents and grandparents were watching over me and pushing me to make that jump because it is one that changed my life for the better.

Believe in yourself!

What interests you outside of work? (How do you normally spend your spare time?)

I love spending time with my family and my partners family.  I am Nana to 2 amazing little girls (the 3rd little one is due in May) and love spending time with them. 

I love reading and have just finished reading a little gem of a book with all interesting facts all about Manchester.

I love the countryside being a ‘country bumkin’ as my Nan used to call us all and I have also recently found a new found interest in golf.  Something I never thought I would but in looking for a birthday present for my partner (who does play golf regularly) I saw an advert for golf lessons and went along to one.  I was totally amazed, absolutely gobsmacked that I actually hit the ball and basically I was hooked.  I now try to play 3 times a week when I can, weather permitting……I’m a fair weather golfer.  I can’t be doing with rain, cold and mud!

What is your seminar about and what can viewers expect to come away with?

An introduction to Reiki and how I got into it and how it has led me to what I am doing today.  I hope that this little introduction to Reiki will give you a little bit more of an insight to what it is all about and even if you’ve never tried it before, that you will at least try 1 session to see what it can do for you.

What is it about your topic that appeals to you and why is it useful for therapists?

I just think that Reiki is an amazing therapy that can help everyone with whatever they are going through whether it be stressful or suffering with pain threshold i.e. headaches working alongside conventional medicine to help those who are suffering with the side effects of that medicine. 

I used to be a person who would get stressed about most things and suffered majorly with headaches and migraines etc….  I think I took after my Mother in that way.  But now, because of the ability of knowing how to channel the Reiki energy and being able to do my self-healing on a regular basis, I very rarely get stressed and headaches and more so, migraines, for me, are virtually non-existent. 

What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?

Be specific about what it is that you want to do.  Be positive about yourself and your business.  As much as you love doing what it is you are doing, it is a business at the end of the day, not a hobby, even if it started out as that.

Know that relationships with clients can take time and never judge the client. Relationships take time to build. Your first few sessions may be fairly surface-oriented, built on small talk and only occasional disclosures. Your investment in these early interactions is an investment in the trust that will ultimately help a client open up.

Although focusing on getting new clients and growing your client base is an excellent way to start but one important thing when in business is also about having returning clients who come back to you time and time again is just as critical as getting new clients. But it’s also important to know what the average new client is worth to your private therapy practice in terms of how much they spend on a session, how many sessions will they need over a specific time and how long they’ll need treatment.  One of the number one ways to grow your private therapy practice is referrals for new patients. In fact, they are the engine that runs any successful private practice. Depending on your practice and specialization, the best referral sources for therapists can come from clients who have been to you for a treatment, fellow therapists and professionals who refer others to you.

For anyone who has referred someone to me for the first time, I will personally give a little thank you to the person who has done the referral as a way of thank you for the recommendation.

It takes a long time to build a successful private therapy practice, and it can be slow to start. Unless you have a large enough cash reserve to keep you afloat, it’s smart to start with a part-time private practice, just as I did then you are able to build momentum as a side hustle while keeping your main form of income until you have enough clients to fully go out on your own.

What do you consider to be the most important traits for a therapist to have?

There are several things that I consider to be important when thinking about becoming a therapist.

First and foremost, you must have a love of wanting to help others.  A good therapist can empathize with a wide variety of people, understanding their choices and feelings even if, as a therapist, you do not agree with them. You will need to be emotionally attuned to individuals’ needs and will also have to be able to help them whether it’s help to relieve a back pain with a massage, or have them leaving the therapy room feeling a million dollars after a facial, or have them leaving feeling stress free and ready to face the say after a Reiki session.  If a therapist doesn’t enjoy helping others they [the client] will sense it and may find it difficult to relax.  They have to have trust in you and a good therapist will help them to feel comfortable as soon as they arrive. 

Being a therapist is also all about listening and understanding what it is that your client needs and having a love for helping them achieve what it is they want.  You will find that no matter what therapy field you work in, your client will often see you as their agony aunt and want to use your shoulder to cry on and bend your ear from time to time.  What is the absolute first and foremost the most important rule is that your client can be assured of confidentiality.  I have had clients come to me because they found out that their previous therapist had been gossiping about them with other clients.  Each and every client who comes to me knows that they can trust me and that privacy and confidentiality is assured at all times within the framework of the law.  The last thing your client wants to hear is you gossiping about other clients or therapists in a negative way.

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