Defining a goal for your treatment is an important part of the process at Natural Balance Therapy – right on the initial intake paperwork, we ask what you would like your progress to look like. From many clients, we see answers like ‘run x distance or duration without knee pain’ or ‘reduce number of migraine headaches’. These are excellent targets: specific and measurable, and in most instances achievable. But how can you take these long-term objectives and translate them into one treatment? Why might you need to do this?

In most cases, healing is a complex process: we know that it’s going to take more than one session to get to where we would like to be. Each step unfolds at its own pace, and in its own direction. While we can’t dictate exactly what progress we might make in any given therapy session, we can set smaller goals that direct our attention to the components of our progress. When you next walk into the treatment room, what do you want to achieve?

It’s easy to see that it is probably not reasonable to suggest a goal of ‘ending my knee pain’ in a single session. So how can you break that target down? The answer will be different for every client, but might include ‘moving more freely when walking’, or ‘standing with more neutral hip position’, or ‘feeling more connections between the knee and the hip’. Each of these could be a component of the ultimate result of ‘ending my knee pain’.

By setting a specific aim for a treatment session, we bring our attention to that element of our healing. That focus helps us recognize the smaller changes that make up our process – even if they are not what we anticipated. We become more aware of the progress that we have made in that session, and how it connects to our therapeutic goals. Connecting these incremental steps will ultimately lead us to those larger goals that we have identified.

Next time you come in for a session at Natural Balance Therapy, try setting an intention for that particular treatment, from increasing your awareness to shifting your posture. Discuss your thoughts with your therapist, and see if she or he can help guide you to noticing the changes related to your goals.