Building Trust by doing an Examination for Discovery

20 May

baby and father cropYou must build trust in your new patients before they will even consider pre-paying for a full care program.

 How is this done? First of all you have to consider the steps the new patient has gone through before he walks into your clinic. He was either referred to your office by an existing patient or he received your promotional pieces with in the mail or newspaper, etc.

If he came to you by referral he already has some trust in you. But if he came to you off a flyer, newspaper article or coupon, he has little or no trust and in fact he will in all likelihood be skeptical. If he has had his condition a long time and has seen other health care professionals with little or no results, he has every right to think you will be just like all the rest. But he has come into your office so he has not lost all hope. There is still a little reach for your services.

What you have to do during the initial consultation and examination is confidently discover for the patient the true cause of his condition and to suggest that you can help him to overcome it.

You do this by a thorough consultation where you ask questions to direct the patient to the answers you know already exist. You can’t tell him what is wrong with him, that’s what everyone else has done and he didn’t believe them so why should he believe you.


I don’t know if you’ve ever attended a deposition or in Canada it’s rightfully called an “Examination for Discovery.” The attorney prepares his questions beforehand and then questions the person to discover and get on record admissions to build his case in his favor.

Let’s say the new patient has been suffering with headaches for the last five years, you should formulate questions that get him to realize the extent of his suffering. Then you would want to know what he has tried over the years to lessen the pain that hasn’t worked i.e. medication, ice, heat, darkened room, alcohol, or whatever.

Then he needs to discover the limitations these headaches have on his daily life, family, friends, work; realize that the reason he entered your office was because he is afraid that the headaches will continue to get worse. You could say this is his motivating factor. Once you have clearly and fully exposed his motivating factor then he will almost invariably say something along the lines of:

“Wow, I realized how these headaches have limited what I have been able to do;” or, “I had forgotten that I had three car accidents in the last year and a half, no wonder I’ve been having these headaches,” or “I took off 4 days of work last month because of these dang headaches and that is costing me a lot of money,” or “I had forgotten how serious these headaches really are.”

I even had patients jump out of their chair or sit up on the table when they have one of these realizations. And when they are having one I don’t say a word, I just listen and let them have the full effect. I know you’ve all heard these kinds of exclamations but I don’t believe you know how important they are. This is the point where the patient convinces himself that he is in the right clinic and with the right doctor and that you are different from all the others he’s seen.

The fact that he has had these realizations raises his trust factor with you. Nobody has gotten him to see these things before.

You should then continue your discovery and examine him using palpation first and whenever you find a subluxation, explore it by asking more questions so the patient discovers how he could have injured that area of his spine.

There is a lot more to this type of Examination for Discovery than can be told in this newsletter. In fact doing an effective Examination for Discovery is actually a fine art, something you have to fully understand by role playing, studying, etc.

Give me a call at 727-643-8376 or e-mail me at, to discuss this in more detail so you can start to implement it into your practice.

Yours in Health,

Paul Turnbull author of “The Graduate and the Master.”

EP Management, Inc.


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