This person is a great client - he's open-minded enough to try something new, he can lie on a table without mental anguish, and he could reap phenomenal benefits from the changes in structure that Rolfing® Structural Integration can bring.
The Rolfing® session goes well in terms of what I see. The client participates, nothing strange happens, his body changes. At the end, his breathing is deeper and softer, his hyperlordodic low back has lengthened, his pelvis has come into alignment with his shoulders, he's no longer leaning forward and his shoulders are more even. However, the client doesn't really care about these changes. What he cares about is that his upper back still hurts. He knows the (temporary) relief of a deep tissue massage and wishes that more of my work had involved very heavy pressure. He's polite, but clearly disappointed.
I feel bad for the client, and I wish that I could have given him instant relief. At the same time, I'm frustrated that I'm not going to get a chance to help. If I could show him what I've seen with others and what I saw change in him, he'd understand why I'm optimistic that in less than three months his life could be transformed.* I want to tell him to be patient, that change takes time, and that my professional opinion is that his chronic pain and tension will be 90% better in a few weeks if he keeps working with me. But when I start to say anything of the sort, I feel like I'm trying to sell the Emperor's magical new clothes. I'm so afraid of being seen as a charlatan that I don't offer my professional opinion.
I get it. Of course he's going to want to put his time and money into a modality that's given him relief (although it's only partial and temporary) rather than investing more in a new process that failed to impress him. Why should he trust me when I talk about permanent relief when I haven't given him much temporary relief? I want people to trust their bodies, but instead I'm asking for a leap of faith. That sucks. If my body didn't feel significantly better after 90 minutes of something, I doubt I'd sign up for another 800 minutes of it.
Even so, I understand that change takes time. I know that the maximum relaxation today is not necessarily the most effective way of getting out of pain next week. Rolfing® strategy is hard to explain. I'll keep trying to describe how I work to get your body moving more efficiently so that it doesn't have to tense up to hold you up. I balance the forces on joints so that they don't wear out as fast. Once your body can sit at a desk or in a car, stand, walk, and breathe without clenching, then you stop suffering through daily tension. Change is possible, but it really does take time.
*I know I can't help everybody. I have had clients whose bodies don't show significant changes after a session. To them, I recommend finding someone or something else to help because my approach isn't working for their unique body.