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Making The Ideological Shift: In Patient Care

Making The Ideological Shift: In Patient Care             By:  Dr. Vito Hemphill

The ‘shift’ is from thinking you ‘know exactly what to do with each patient all of the time’ to a posture of ‘asking’. The new way is the art of ‘asking the intuitive self’ what to do in addition to what you already know.  The synthesis of mind and intuition reveals more complete and accurate answers based on the ‘uniqueness of your patient’.  This is respect!  This is humility and sensitivity in action.  Patients notice when you take the time to ask their body what is the final answer.

As the physician, you are taught ‘flow charts’.  You learn the science behind the charts and you are taught a reasoning process that leads you through flow charts in your mind that eventually end with a working diagnosis.  You then examine the science and the pathway you used to get to the diagnosis using lab tests, physical examination, subjective findings, objective findings, and your experience from past patients.  From all of this, you make a choice to name and treat a certain condition (your diagnosis).  Then, you must decide on the treatment plan which may include physical, chemical or even emotional interventions.   This is where you sit back down with your patient and announce your conclusions and the plan to resolve their condition.  This is good medicine using the accepted scientific model based solely on your clinical resources and practitioner skill level.

I want you to continue to do all the science I just outlined and I want you to add something to your process.  Clinical Intuitive Skills such as ‘leg motion testing’ and ‘arm resistance testing’ will allow you to ask a few final questions directly from the patient’s consciousness. This new type of testing will clarify more percisely which drug (how much and for how long) and which therapeutic modalities will be most effective.   You can ask ‘any yes and no question’ to clarify how to best institute you treatment plan for optimum results.

The best part of all of this new ideology is that the patients get better faster and they respect you more as a sensitive doctor.  You may be asking why would I get more respect this way?  The answer is you shifted your entire perspective from ‘knowing the answer automatically based on the flow chart’ to knowing what you found out and then being willing to explore even more possibilities with your patient.  The big shift is from MDiety to humility and the patients can feel this immediately!  Humility does not mean abandoning your mind and previous clinical skills.  It means expanding yourself!

About twentysome years ago when I was a young doctor I went to many emotional therapists in an attempt to resolve my childhood problems.  I remember one day when I went to my Ph.D Jungian therapist and she said, “today we  are going to talk about a real challenging subject and that is your MDiety.”  I had never heard of such a thing and I considered myself to be a sensitive doctor who always respected my patients.  My therapist showed me that I did have an ‘unhealthy ego’ and that I put my opinions above those of my patients.  It was subtle and it ran deep within me.

My dad was a east coast surgeon and his friends were all MD’s and this was my world growing up.  I learned subtle and not so subtle cues about my  ‘position in the world.’  I was passing those attitudes on to my friends and patients, unknowingly.  That day, in therapy, I decided to ‘own my self-righteousness.’

For many weeks, I watch my interactions with each patient that came to my office.  I saw the subtle nature of my arrogance and gradually changed my words and communication patterns until I could see a difference.  I used more ‘clinical intuitive skills’ to get past my mind and to honor the patient’s intuitive answers.  They got better faster and we felt closer to each other as people.  It was as if a wall was removed between them and me.  I had not lost any ‘authority’, if fact I had gained their respect and greater compliance with my suggestions.  I felt ‘lighter’ and more joyful in my work just being ‘closer to my patients’.

So, I encourage you to ‘make the ideological shift’ and realize that as you become more vulnerable and available on a human level, you will be more successful with your practice and your life!  Clinical Intuition will give you real clinical skills that effectively brings this healthy new perspective in patient care.

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