It has to be acknowledged that voodooism, unlike the many other magic-based therapies offered to medical and veterinary clients, has suffered from rather a bad press. While homoeopathy, acupuncture, therapeutic touch, radionics and so on are eagerly accepted by the public as valid therapeutic modalities, the popular use of the word "voodoo" to signify arcane mumbo-jumbo works against the integration of voodoo practices into both human and veterinary medicine. This is entirely unjustified. As we have seen, the fundamental tenets of voodoo are so similar to homoeopathy in particular that there is little to choose between them - indeed the greater scope and flexibility of voodoo practices (including the availability of voodoo surgery) arguably ought to make it the modality of choice within the discipline of Sympathetic Magic.
Adherents of the Voodoo religion in Haiti and elsewhere have circumvented this difficulty by the use of alternative spellings of the word, with Vodun, Vodoun and Voudou being commonly-encountered variants. Some discussion has taken place among the medical voodoo community with respect to adopting one of these alternative spellings, in particular "vodun". It is unarguable that by thus distancing ourselves from the negative connotations of the "voodoo" spelling, public acceptance of the discipline as a valid medical approach would be assured and it would take its rightful place alongside homoeopathy as a recognised magical therapy. However, to date no final decision has been reached on this matter.
Use of the appropriate language and terminology is vital in the promotion any alternative therapy. The following is a list of appropriate buzzwords which have been proven to bring the clients flocking to the door:
As we all know, voodoo medicine has been shown anecdotally to be close to 100% effective, therefore the only reason for failure is that the animal has been presented too late. It is important to take exactly the right line during the initial consultation - a degree of optimism is only reasonable, but at the same time scope must be left for it to be pointed out that the intervention was sadly too late, if in the end this proves to be the case.
The first essential is to convey to the client that you and he are on the same side, working together to combat the disease. Phrases such as "We're going to see this through together," have been shown to be extremely effective. In cases where the prognosis may be somewhat guarded, it is often prudent to add the words,"wherever it takes us."
Endeavour to avoid using precise diagnostic terms. This is in any case a feature of allopathic medicine, and essentially irrelevant to voodoo practices. Although it is important to emphasise that you are in fact treating the underlying cause, even if you don't say what this is, bear in mind that the client is concerned with the problem, not with what causes it. One advantage of this is that the client will therefore find it difficult to become distracted by accessing allopathic information on the Internet, as such information is generally organised according to diagnostic categories. If conversation is confined mainly to voodoo terms such as those in the buzzword glossary above, any subsequent Internet searches will tend to yield mostly voodoo references.
Avoid giving any definite time-course estimates for the treatment. As we know, "natural healing" can be variable in its manifestation, and it is important to keep the client on board. If recovery is quicker than expected, this will in any case always be interpreted positively.
Recognise that clients are natural worriers, and may not always realise how well their pet is recovering. Encourage a positive attitude to the condition, and even where complete recovery is proving elusive, concentrate on pointing out how much better the patient is compared to when it was first presented. In addition, bear in mind that there can be a temporary worsening of a condition with voodoo treatment, similar to the "healing crisis" of homoeopathy, and dispel any anxieties by assuring the client that this is just "the poisons leaving the system".
Ideally you will want to see patients every two or three days during voodoo treatment. However, if the client is reluctant to attend so frequently it is extremely valuable to introduce the telephone consultation. Working from the client's description of the patient's condition, appropriate treatments can then be carried out on the doll which is in your possession. Such consultations may be charged at perhaps 75% of the attendance fee, and may even occur more frequently than visits might have been envisaged. This technique can also help retain clients who move out of the area. Taking this concept further, some practitioners are now beginning to develop purely telephone or internet practices, where the personalisation of the doll is carried out from photographs and descriptions, and ousia are supplied by post. This is proving to be a highly profitable undertaking, and is recommended to all students.
Eventually, of course, most patients will recover. Ensure that the client remains committed to your practice by sending periodic "personalisation cards", assuring the client that you are including his pet's effigy in your regular ritual of personalisation reinforcement and that everything will be ready when your services are next required. Some practitioners make a small annual charge for this service.
Occasionally, of course, voodoo medicine is unsuccessful - usually, as we said, because help has been sought too late. It is important to retain a sympathetic attitude, and to encourage the client to grieve in an apropriate manner. Evocations of the "fur babies" waiting at the Rainbow Bridge for their humans to join them, and the happy meadows where they play, have been found to be extremely effective in consoling distraught clients and ensuring repeat custom in due course. Never be afraid to mix mythologies - few clients have any detailed knowledge of anthropology, and most will accept a fine-sounding image no matter where it originates. Nevertheless, some caution must be used when embarking on this strategy. Not all clients are complete woo-woos, and there is a limit to how much bullshit you can force some people to swallow.
Voodoo is uniquely suited to the marketing of preventative medicine. Rather than simply collecting a small retainer fee for regular repersonalisation of an effigy, turn this to better advantage by marketing it as a complete preventative medicine scheme. For a regular fee (best collected by standing order) clients can have the peace of mind of knowing that regular preventative incantations and rituals are being performed on their pet's image, which can be relied on to keep him healthy throughout the year.
Inevitably some patients on preventative voodoo régimes will fall ill or become injured despite your best efforts. It is important in this case to emphasise just how much worse the condition would have been without the preventative care, and if this is sensitively handled most clients will be extremely understanding and continue with the full course of treatment.
If care is taken to adhere to these principles, a low-overhead, high-turnover, high-profit practice is ensured, and clients will not only stay loyal but recruit many more to your business by personal recommendation.
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