The consultation is an information gathering process, taking the form of a Q&A session for both parties. New clients, or potential clients, should always receive a consultation, regardless of whether they have had electrolysis elsewhere or not. They may have misconceptions about the treatment and their objectives may be misplaced, so each new client should be treated as if they are having electrolysis for the first time and the process thoroughly explained.
If the client has previously had electrolysis at another salon or clinic, establish why they discontinued treatment, whether it was a lack of understanding of the treatment, the treatment wasn’t explained well enough, or the client lacked commitment to the treatment. If the latter, then the importance of the client’s responsibilities to successful treatment must be emphasised
For a repeat client a consultation is still required, albeit less in-depth, to check that the client’s general health, medication, stress levels etc. hasn’t changed.
A comprehensive and well executed consultation will enable the electrologist to provide the most efficient, individualised treatment. It is also necessary to comply with any local byelaws and insurance requirements.
Consultations should ideally take place in a quiet, private area, where the client will not feel self-conscious or be overheard. The process should take approximately 20-30 minutes and give the client and electrologist the opportunity to do the following:
FOR THE CLIENT
• To meet and bond with the electrologist and visit the clinic/salon
• To discuss treatment expectations and agree a treatment plan
• To ask questions about the treatment
• To experience the treatment
FOR THE ELECTROLOGIST
• To explain the treatment and ensure the client understands it, answering any questions
• To discuss the client’s suitability for treatment and advise on achievable treatment outcomes
• To discuss the probable causes of hair growth and previous methods of hair removal
• To examine the client’s skin and hair type and explain possible reactions to treatment
• To discuss and agree a treatment plan, including any future treatments
• To discuss and agree the importance of home aftercare procedures
STEREX TIPS FOR AN EFFECTIVE CONSULTATION
• Professionalism is key, be tactful, friendly and confident to build a rapport with the client
• Allow adequate time for an in-depth and thorough consultation
• Use open, not closed-ended questions
• Carefully observe the client’s body language and be open and approachable in your own, always make eye contact, smile and never fold your arms in front of your body
• If the client appears nervous, withdrawn and/or has a negative demeanour, take a particularly caring and sensitive approach
• Ask the client to clarify the exact area of concern, never assume
• Encourage the client to ask questions and clarify any points as you go along
• Be sincere, honest and accurate in the information you provide
• Assure the client of confidentiality and privacy
• Fill in the record card so they can see what you’re writing
STEREX TIPS FOR AN IDEAL CONSULTATION ENVIRONMENT
• A quiet, private room away from reception
• Soft, pastel colours are ideal for creating a calm, serene atmosphere
• Sit so you are at the same level as the client, ideally side by side
• Play soft, quiet, calming music in the background to relax a nervous client
All initial consultations should include a 5-minute taster session, so that the client can experience the sensation of electrolysis and the electrologist can find the working point, assess the skin and its reaction, the hair type and strength, in order to plan treatment effectively.
THE TREATMENT PLAN
This is the decision-making part of the procedure and can only be carried out once all relevant information has been obtained and all client questions answered in full. The treatment plan should always be decided jointly between the electrologist and the client. Each client will present a different set of circumstances and will therefore require a unique treatment strategy. The treatment plan will change as the treatment progresses and a good electrologist will continuously re-assess and re-evaluate the plan and the decisions made. The electrologist can use diagrams to illustrate the order of treatments, so that the client understands what to expect and what is expected of them with regard to the growing area.
The key elements to be decided upon in the treatment plan are:
Blend, short wave diathermy (SWD), or galvanic. The electrologist might decide to change modality during a course of treatment; for example, they might utilise the clearing capability of SWD for a client with a lot of hair growth and then treat the re-growth with the more effective blend method.
The decision as to the strength of current used will depend on the area to be treated, the hair to be treated, the skin in the area and the client’s level of tolerance. One would expect to see intensity decreasing as treatment progresses, as the hair weakens and re-growth slows.
The needle size used at the beginning of a course of treatment will be greater in diameter than the needle used towards the end, as the hair weakens.
Duration and Frequency of Treatment
The initial decisions made regarding the length of the treatment sessions and their frequency will not and should not remain the same as treatment progresses. Ongoing assessment of individual progress will indicate where adjustments need to be made. For example, a client with extensive growth will initially require weekly treatments, but when nearing the end of their treatment will only need ‘tidying up’ sessions every few weeks and then every few months. Whilst it is important that the client understands the need for regular treatment, their financial and time constraints must be taken into account. The key things to consider when planning the duration and frequency of treatment are:
- Area being treated – size and sensitivity can influence treatment time, e.g. quicker progress can be made on smaller areas
- Type and strength of hair growth – fine, dense, vellus hair will be weak and shallow, but closer proximity, slowing progress; strong terminal hair may require higher currents, potentially restricting treatment times.
- Amount of hair growth – if there is pronounced growth establish the clients’ expectations of treatment and ask which hairs they are most concerned with (typically dark, coarse) and treat these first.
- Client’s skin type/condition – advisable to start with shorter duration treatments to assess the skin’s healing rate.
- Client’s pain threshold – if the client doesn’t tolerate treatment well, shorter, more regular treatments are preferable. Certain times (e.g. menstrual cycle) might need to be avoided.
- Client’s time/financial constraints