M03.05 My Safe Place Part II | ATSuccess

M03.05 My Safe Place Part II

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Thank you, I work from my home, and am regularly complemented on it as a safe and private environment in which to work.
Today I have received my first request for a refund from a participant in an AT course I have just completed. Your post today is very resonant. This person wants a refund as she feels that although she enjoyed the two sessions she attended out of five, her back problems have been exacerbated. She phoned me to tell me that she wouldn't attend the last 3 sessions due to her back pain. I offered to give her a one-one lesson instead. The email today says she doesn't have time to take me up on my kind offer and is therefore asking for a refund. I wasn't quite sure how to respond. So I have drafted a reply and was waiting for clarity to appear before sending it. Now your post is helping me 'see' whats happening here. She's frightened and in pain that I know. It was her first experience of AT, she was reluctant to have any 1-1 lessons due to the cost. And of course the group has not delivered what a 1-1 lesson would have.
I am reluctant to offer a refund as I wonder if that will confirm in her mind that I and AT have made her back worse. This I'm not willing to do as of course it hasn't. Whatever I decide will I know be talked about locally. A refund could make her feel better about the money she's 'wasted' and therefore make her accept her back pain. But part of me thinks 'NO!' if I offer a refund, that is not allowing her to take responsibilty for her own actions. My feeling is someone else is persuading her that this AT stuff is 'no good'. Whether that's her husband / her physio, I'm not sure, but I know someone else is in the picture here.
Any advice from anyone who'e come across this sort of situation most gratefully received! What to do, for me it's not at all about the money for me here, it was be so much easier to refund the lessons she didn't have as she's requesting. But does that gesture help her? I think that gesture may harm me too and my business locally. Of course I don't know how she'll react if I say no. I do make clear that participants on the course must pay up in full beforehand, I now need to make clear that I don't offer refunds!
So glad to be a member of STAT today in case this gets 'nasty' :)

How unsettling for you, Angela. Personally, no, no refund. There's nothing you can do about her interpretation of this work, and you as a teacher of it; it will all be her story and she will tell it as she tells it, whatever you do. Sounds to me - and 'feels' it, too - as if she (possibly of course) is one who, at some level, doesn't want her back pain to go away. Meant gently, her response is typical 'victim', and this saying always comes to mind when I sense that in someone.... "There is nothing like the problem of trying to solve the problem of a person who's problem is that they don't want their problem solved." My gut feeling? Continue in your quiet direction as you already are; run your course with those still there, hold your word (to yourself, too) about fees being non-refundable, and allow this person to go on their way their way, knowing you are teaching a powerful work from a place of integrity and love (which you are, we can see you are!) and have nothing to feel you have to repay. We know pain can sometimes get worse before it gets better, but if students don't stay it out, or take the necessary personal responsibility to change - however scary - they don't make that discovery. Sad but true. And for some, there is nothing (I don't think) we can do to alleviate all the fear of change; it's only by living it that we all, as students, grow in the confidence necessary for inner trust. Bless you - thinking of you as you make your decision.

Jeremy Chance's picture

Refund the money. Immediately. Gratefully. Gracesly. Be as elegant and silent as you can. Any serious buinssess budgeting includes a provision for refunds. As your business grows, a request like this just goes to show that your business is moving to new levels. You say your "first" request, well darling - it won't be your last! Give it up, and get on.

I agree with Jeremy - give her her money back. Itʻs impossible to know what caused her back to get worse, but giving her a refund is not saying that it was your fault, itʻs just acknowledging that that particular class didnʻt fit her needs and doesnʻt have to. I had a student in one group class who suffered terrible migraines - hence her neck was very stiff from the pain. When she changed her use for the better, her migraines got worse instead of better - a total mystery but no one knows what causes migraines. I wish I could have refunded her money - neither one of us thought of it!
as this was a very scary experience for her and probably scared her off of the AT - perhaps rightly! - permanently. But she never caused any problems for me. I made it very clear from the outset that we did not know if the AT would help or not, but we would find out together. There you go!

Just for my clarification, Angela, is the refund for the whole course, or the three the lady hasn't attended? Whilst I might, just might, offer a refund for those, I would not for the two she attended, no. But that is just me, and certainly not a suggestion. Each of us must be able to do what feel right in each situation - and there is an ok 'rightness' in us in this; our 'gnowing'.

Since she feels that the AT has not helped, you have already lost that one. If you deny her a refund I imagine she would be more likely to harbor negative feelings about you. Sorry you are having to deal with such a tricky situation.

Thank you all!! Today is a new day! Have responded, we'll see what happens, all a learning curve...and yes I realise it won't be the last person who asks for a refund! Onwards and upwards :)

Well done Angela, onwards and upwards!

Well, there you go! How interesting. I would have given a refund years ago out of guilt, but I've worked on my guilt (not saying anyone else's reason for a refund is guilt led though) and, as long as I felt I had given of my best, 'listened' to all the direct and indirect feedback as much as I could, and not ignored any 'worrying feelings' during lessons, I wouldn't offer a refund. There are many things we all pay for in life that don't turn out quite as we expect, but that's where I put things down to simply being alive; the other end of the situation with a similar 'put it behind me and get on', but from me. Now I have what I think of as a stronger purpose to life, and don't capitulate like I used to; my time and my intention is valuable to me now. To date - and watch it change now ;-) - I have never had a request for a refund.... but I am learning much here, and have also learned in my rising years, 'never say never', so I'll watch with new awareness.

She wanted a refund for the three she didn't attend. As it happens I haven't said no to a refund...I offered to extend my offer of a 1-1 lesson any time she likes for up to a year from now. I've heard nothing back. If she comes back to me I will refund all three immediately. Somehow it felt important intuitively for me to give her some more information, I sent her the link to the BMJ study to read, I explained what I charge for the courses and how they run, and I explained our rigorous training and that 1600 hours of hands on training is there to protect the public we serve. I also reminded her of our original phone call, whereby I strongly recommended she had at least one individual lesson before agreeing to the course.
In 'my bones' I knew it wasn't right to offer a refund straight away in this particular case. I felt strongly that the gesture would backfire on me professionally. I now feel really relaxed with whatever she chooses to do. I feel completely safe in the knowledge that I've 'put her straight' on the interactions we have had, what AT is, so she may well have a different view of what's happened in between.
So, an interesting and a learning experience for me. I'm really grateful to you all too for your points of view. That helped me with my decision and I'm so comfortable with my actions now, very happy with whatever comes next. Thanks guys :)

Angela, that sounds really good - good on you. Feels like you supported your self, your teaching integrity, the AT, your experience, your wisdom, and have given this good lady the chance to stand in her own power in her own way; however she chooses she has had that gift of trust in her power from you. Neither capitulation, nor resistance, but conscious constructive thinking on behalf of so many factors - brilliant! :-D

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