Abstract: Rather than paying for a full intake appointment at the first visit, split the cost of your first two appointments. If, after the followup appointment, you do not wish to continue with homeopathy, simply do not pay for your second visit.
For years I've been mulling over the problem of the initial homeopathic consultation ..., and the problem is that it's too expensive for many people.
There are good reasons why homeopaths need to charge extra for the first visit: The intake appointment lasts for hours; it requires another hour of paper shuffling, record keeping, case analysis and remedy delivery; and unlike many modalities that rely on frequent visits, homeopathic followups are fairly sparse. Best of all, when people get relief from their complaints, they don't need to keep coming back.
All of these factors are, of course, positive things about homeopathy: We spend sufficient time with our clients, we don't require a weekly time commitment, we aim to improve peoples' complaints fully and permanently.
For all of these reasons and more, a recent study found that people who use homeopathy spend a lot less per year on their health care than those using conventional medicine. But, that initial investment discourages many people from trying homeopathy.
There's another problem that I've observed in practice over the years. Many people don't understand what homeopathy is and, even though they're game to try it, something about the consultation or the prescription just doesn't do it for them. Perhaps they were expecting herbs or an exercise regimen or a complicated diet.
At least a couple of times a year, someone will pay for the full intake, get a remedy and just never come back. Sometimes I find out later that they did so well with the remedy that they didn't want to pay for another appointment. Other times, I just never hear anything, and I have to assume that at least some of these folks were disappointed in some way.
In various attempts to address these problems, I have adjusted my intake fees up and down, offered low-income discounts, offered shorter intake appointments, but all of these efforts have been problematic in one way or another.
So! I had an idea. What if we spread out the cost of the initial visit over two appointments? And, if the client does not want to continue with treatment, after the second appointment they can simply opt out of paying the second half of the intake fee?
That way, the client comes back for a followup appointment, which is important for both the client and the homeopath, because it's not until we observe the action of the first remedy that we can make any predictions about the client's potential for long-term recovery. And the practitioner needs to know if the remedy worked or not. So, we get the patient back in for followup and prognosis.
But if, after hearing the prognosis, the client doesn't want to continue, they can simply stop and not be on the hook for the cost of the second appointment, which would account for a savings of one-third of the cost of simply paying the whole intake fee up front.
If the client was unsure how to continue, they could even stop there, keep taking the remedy and come back later if they decided things were improving after all.
What that leaves us with is $225 at the initial appointment, $225 at the first followup and, as always, $89 followups after that. (For children 12 and under, that would be $200 at each appointment.) Anyone who is disappointed with homeopathy or with the remedy can at least back out at a cost of $225 rather than the full intake cost ($350).
Some people may prefer to simply pay the intake and get it over with (and save $11 :-) ). For those people, I continue to offer the $350 initial fee for adults and $300 for children 12 and under.