The “Gate Effect”: Understanding Its Mysteries to Optimize Your Practice
Dr. Moshe Daniel Block, ND, HMC
I believe the Gate Effect gives us an insight into The Healing Power of Nature – that force that is ever at play in practice, often in invisible, yet nevertheless observable, ways. Exploring it leads to some pretty interesting discoveries regarding what is occurring “behind the scenes” of Nature Cure. Recognizing some of these patterns can also help practitioners remain aware of the workings of the Vis as they build and maintain their practices.I am excited to write about a special phenomenon that I have continued to observe in practice. This is an observable happening that every practitioner I have spoken with about this phenomenon has also noticed. I don’t think there is a name for it, nor have I ever encountered any publications about this topic. Some would consider such an idea nonsensical and dismiss it altogether. Organizing a study – whether scientific or empirical – would be tricky, to say the least, and perhaps impossible. That is why I am writing this article – to bring to light something that many, if not most of us, have observed in practice, perhaps with a degree of attention that is no more than a fleeting thought or a vague impression. I am calling this phenomenon the “Gate Effect,” and would like to illustrate what nuances are contained within its mysteries.
What is The Gate Effect?
The simplest way of introducing the Gate Effect is to point to an example of one of its facets, that being the phenomenon that occurs when many patients cancel appointments when you (the practitioner) are not feeling “up for the job.” You’re exhausted. You’ve been burning the beeswax candle at both ends. Your supply of self-care and motivational stickers with which you reward yourself is empty. You are – plain and simple – not feeling like facing the tide of excesses and deficiencies, subluxations, aches, pains, and emotional issues that come through the gate of your practice. You are not really sick enough to out-and-out cancel your appointments yourself, yet somehow, an unwritten and unsent text message arrives at the smart phones of your patients’ psyches. They do you the favor of cancelling the appointment before you have a nervous breakdown. You breathe a sigh of relief and go to thank your receptionist for cancelling the appointments for you, and then you realize, you didn’t say a word to your receptionist; in fact, you don’t even have a receptionist. So you wonder, “Whom do I have to thank for rearranging my schedule while I’m feeling down and out?” The answer: The Great Orchestrator of the Gate Effect, who is the same as the One that moves the wind through the trees.
Over the last many years, whenever I have been feeling much more disposed to silence and resting than listening to people’s problems, I get a ton of cancellations. I’d say, if I could handle 5 cases a week in my low-energy state, and I had 15 patients booked, around 10-12 would cancel. Out of the blue. The cancellation emails start coming in. The Orchestrator is kind. What is equally amazing is that when the internal shingle gets turned back around to “Open for Business,” the patients begin contacting me again. I’ve been emotionally out of commission for, at times, 1 to 2 weeks, and the very moment I get that feeling inside like it’s time again to help reveal the core beliefs and repertorize the strange, rare, and peculiar plumage of my flock, they begin contacting me again. I have seen 5 emails arrive about appointments within 1 hour of making the decision to get back to being fully committed again to helping people. It’s like the people needing care are psychically hovering at the gate, just waiting for it to slide back open. They respond immediately. And I would think sharing this was stranger if I hadn’t had this phenomenon confirmed by every other practitioner with whom I have discussed it.
So that is one of the elements that the phenomenon of The Gate Effect reveals: The unmistakable result of the Commitment of the Heart. At times, for various reasons, I fall into being the “Reluctant Naturopath.” I don’t feel in my heart that I am wanting to practice very much. I’ve learned to go easier on myself for this because I do work very deeply with my patients, and despite all of my efforts at being detached, and using space-clearing sprays, I do need breaks, even between the vacations I take. And sometimes life also gets in there, to stack another sack of potatoes onto the donkey. Who wants to come see a naturopathic doctor or healer who is not committed to his or her practice? I recall a time when I was renovating my house with my wife. I was using every spare moment to obsessively rip apart and build up our unfinished basement. I was quite busy in practice at the time. And wouldn’t you know it, as I began to feel burned out from the combo of demanding practice and exhausting renovations, my patients began cancelling. The Orchestrator is kind. This gave me more time to renovate (probably not what the Orchestrator had intended), which led me to become even more exhausted, and so on and so forth, until it got out of hand and I decided to reclaim the reins of responsibility and commitment for my practice. It began to immediately fill up in response to my commitment. I am always amazed at this phenomenon.
The Secret Recipe
Here’s more about it. What makes a practitioner committed? The secret recipe of a heart full of desire to help the suffering is this: a few dashes of confidence in one’s ability (apply freely) and as much of “Physician, Heal Thyself!” as possible. What makes a naturopathic doctor appealing to a patient? The same recipe. If any of these elements are missing, the inner hound-dog of the patient will smell something is “off” and will call off the chase. Conversely, if all is aligned and good to go, there is nothing that will stop the patient’s inner hound from getting wind of that delicious aroma and head right to your office.
As I have continued to practice, my method of marketing hasn’t changed much. Yet I have noticed a steady increase in the frequency at which I am contacted by new patients. I propose this has to do less with referrals (although that helps) and more to do with my experience and growing confidence in my abilities, along with my own healing process. As I have healed myself, my heart has been clearer and my ability and commitment to help others has also grown, which has made my gate more open and appealing, to draw more patients to my practice. How do they sense that confidence? How do they know when the green light of my commitment is set to on? Ask the Orchestrator. However it may be, they are guided! This cannot be denied and it cannot be faked. Even if I put a big smile on my face and “fake it ‘til I make it,” if my mind and pocketbook say yes but my heart says no, they cancel. Or they don’t come at all.
Something unmistakeable happened with my wife, who is also a practitioner, at one of my holistic counseling classes at CCNM. Svea, who assists me in balancing the seats when it is time for one-on-one practicing of the Holistic Counseling Dialogue, decided to work on an issue she had been facing in regards to her practice – a lack of confidence in her ability to help others. She received the Dialogue from one of the students who did a great job of asking her questions to get to the root of her lack of confidence in herself. Things shifted for Svea around her issue, and then we returned to class for the final hour. This was at 5 PM on the Sunday of that particular weekend. That night when Svea checked her inbox, she had 2 new appointment requests through her website, sent at 5:20 PM and 9:30 PM. This website did not rank well on search engines and she had heard nothing at all from it in months. Yet, within a few hours of making a change in her own beliefs regarding her abilities, the Gate Effect kicked in and she was contacted twice. There is something very magical and beautiful about this. We can implement all the marketing strategies and have all the gestures for outer confidence in place, but if anything on the internal grid stands in the way of the Gate’s full openness, the patients will not come.
How This Affects Which Patients Show Up
What is also rather mindboggling about the Gate Effect is that the difficulty of the cases a practitioner attracts also tends to increase as the practitioner is more equipped to handle them. How does the patient know you can help them? Ask the Orchestrator. This unseen grid of communication is much more sophisticated than any matchmaking site on the internet. The sick are dying to have practitioners that can help them – please note, holistically – at the root cause of their illness through their whole person, and not just through means of allopathic, symptomatic relief. That sort of medicine is everywhere on the planet – a grid of bright flashing lights that attract the “moths” of our need for the quick fix and to be taken care of (rather than empowered and responsible for ourselves), but which reveals nothing of the darkness of what has led to our disease. I’ve had patients contact me, interested in making an appointment, and then, only years later, actually book an appointment with me. After delving into their cases, it became clear to me that I would not have been ready to help them when they initially contacted me. And probably, at the very same time, they were not ready to heal. The Orchestrator is wise.
Another subtle nuance about the Gate Effect, which I’ve observed in naturopathic practice, is that the patients a practitioner attracts are mirrors of the practitioner. This can be great and harmonious in the sense that practitioners may have been through a very difficult aspect of life and have healed themselves, thereby making themselves available to help others going through a similar challenge. That happened to me in personally from experiencing myasthenia gravis (MG). I am more credible and appealing to the MG patient, and more able to help. What also happens, which is more challenging, is that patients come with startlingly similar issues, which smash the candy out of the practitioner’s piñata. The Orchestrator is a “Physician, Heal thy Patient and Thyself While You’re at it” matchmaker, to the most precise degree. Moreover, as the cases get more difficult, they are able to reach deeper for that “lost change” of the practitioner’s old wounds that has lain forgotten beneath the cushions of our subconscious’ couch.
I’ve been off on a trip, with a vacation auto-responder set to field my emails. Only, it doesn’t need to work hard until I begin turning my attention back to my practice. I’ve needed to focus on my writing, and the word around town spread silently to not disturb me. When I re-opened the Gate, the contacts have flooded me in an unmistakeable wave of catch-up. I’ve seen my lack of confidence and commitment almost put out the dying embers of my practice, only to have the blaze reignite in response to my internal willingness and readiness to get back to work. And, most amazingly, I’ve heard the same thing happening with other practitioners.
The Gate Effect is a phenomenon that, although subtle and “invisible,” is nevertheless clearly observable. I dare call it undeniable. Through it we gain an insight into the nature of Nature that makes us appreciate its Orchestrator’s kindness, wisdom, and willingness to bring people together from afar for mutual healing.
If we open it, they will come.
Moshe Daniel Block, ND, HMC, is the author of The Revolution of Naturopathic Medicine: Remaining True to Our Philosophy, a book about the philosophy and practice of naturopathic medicine. He graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (Toronto, Ontario) in 2000. Dr Block then went on to complete the Homeopathic Master Clinician course with Louis Klein, FSHom, in 2003. He specializes in autoimmune illness and myasthenia gravis, a disease he was personally diagnosed as having, and from which he has healed himself. He teaches the very wisdom and knowledge that helped him heal himself and others in his Holistic Counseling course for NDs. Some of the other projects Dr Block has worked on can be found at his private practice website, his book website, and his global website.