I’ve been working behind the chair for more than 30 years and just when I think I’ve heard it all, a client tells me something that surprises me—shocks, saddens, even frightens me.
Our clients seem to tell us everything. They tell us secrets. They ask us what they should do about their marriage, children, in-laws… and drug addiction.
We are trained to be beauty professionals – experts in hair color and styling. We weren’t trained to be therapists… and, with the opioid crisis, people are finding out that there’s nothing pretty about those drugs.
It probably started innocently. Someone had surgery or a dental procedure and the doctor prescribed the painkiller. And then the patient—your client or her husband or his son—becomes addicted.
If your client starts talking to you about a situation like that, do you know how to handle it? Everyone of us needs to be prepared if a client is in danger or needs help.
You know about creating beautiful blondes and incredible reds, not addiction. How do you offer advice about something you know little or nothing about?
Now, I can offer you a strategy that will help your client… and take care of you.
I call it: LISTEN… CONNECT… STEP BACK!
LISTEN: Everyone needs someone to listen to their problems. Sometimes, letting someone talk is all that’s needed. But sometimes, it’s a real cry for help. Then you…
CONNECT: You can suggest that your client connect with people/organizations who are experienced and trained to offer qualified help. Here are a few numbers to keep in a drawer at your station that you can pass along.
Drug/Alcohol Rehabilitation: 1-866-684-6303
National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Non-Emergency Helpline: 211
Check the agencies in your community to connect with resources.
If you know of a local group, add that name and number to the list.
STEP BACK! Remember, as much as you would like to help, you are not qualified or directly involved in the situation. Listening and guiding your client to the right people is the best thing you can do. The very best thing. Remember that. It’s not your job or responsibility to sort out the situation. You have concerns of your own. You’ve already done the very best thing you can do to help: connected your client to qualified assistance.
More than six years ago, I started hearing about teenagers and young adults dying from opioid overdoses. Young people who had sat in my chair. Their parents had been my clients for years. They were good, loving families. They lived in a safe and healthy community. This shouldn’t have happened. Not here.
I started leaving the salon sad and upset. Just because someone dumps their drama, it should not create a crisis in your life. I know someone who would get so upset about what he heard all day while doing hair that he went home and got drunk… night after night.
That’s not the answer for him… or for you.
Sometimes, we’re in a tight spot. Many times, our clients’ stories about an amazing trip, a wedding, a new baby or new home are fun to hear. But sometimes, we hear a cry for help.
That’s when we have to Listen! Connect! And Step Back!
That way you can help your client… and take care of yourself. That’s how you can awaken your beautiful.
Vice President, Education