Currently viewing the tag: "healers"

It’s nice to have a doctor who really knows you.  I always say, there’s a big difference between healers and technicians.  Technicians know the ins-and-outs of their discipline, but they often lack the interpersonal skills necessary to make their patients feel comfortable.

Knowing one’s patients–their lives, family details, what drives them, their values–helps a doctor effectively communicate recommendations, and increases the likelihood that the patient will either follow through with the plan, or at least that the two can work together to find an alternative course of treatment.  Without having this type of interaction, the doctor-patient relationship runs the risk of becoming one of authority-subordinate, nag-nagged or money grubber-chump.

Take my doctor, Dr. W, for example: he knows me.  He knows my family, my work, my job, my beliefs, and so on.  But best of all, he knows my health habits.  He knows that I work out regularly; he knows that I take vitamins, and he knows that I don’t do drugs or alcohol.  To top it all off, he knows that I am probably not going to take his statins.  Yes, that’s right–I don’t care if my LDLs are one-bleepity-bleep–no statins for me, thank you very much.

I love that he knows this about me.  When giving me my annual physical exam results, he leaves a nice voicemail message, finishing it off with, “And your cholesterol is high.  I’m recommending statins, so I’ll call the pharmacy and leave the prescription because I know you’ll probably tell me that you’re not going to take them.”

Ah, good ol’ Dr. W.  He knows me in and out.  He knows what I’ll do and what I won’t.  He genuinely cares about me, my work, and my family; and that’s why I keep going back to see him.  Dr. W is a healer because he knows how to listen, is observant and doesn’t try to overpower me with his health-authority bull$&*!  Good health care, Dr. W, and I appreciate it.  But I’m still not taking any statins.


Hung out today at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books held on the UCLA campus. What a great event! Got to listen to Holly Robinson and Rodney Peete talk about their autistic son, RJ. What a treat!

This post is not about autism, or the Peetes; it’s about something they said that stirred some thought in me. As they discussed RJ’s growth and battle through autism, they said they were able to, “check off all the things the doctor had said he’d never be able to do.”

Now that got me to thinking about how so many doctors tend to absorb themselves in the diagnosis—got to call it something, give it a label. Then all these preset parameters come along with the diagnosis, and the one being diagnosed becomes exactly that, the diagnosis itself. That has never been my method in my Beverly Hills chiropractic practice, although I do get a handful of people insisting on having a diagnosis (conditioning, I guess). For these people, I play the game, but I always tell them I prefer not to get caught up in labels. There’s a real danger there; people start to identify too heavily with their labels. They start to become their condition (illness, disease, disorder, etc). I am very pleased the Peetes didn’t follow this path.

Medical diagnosis serves a purpose: it’s a way of organizing information common among a group of people experiencing a particular set of symptoms. But I think doctors would be wise to see the bigger picture–the possibilities that exist in treatment and healing. I know, I know…sometimes all they have is a hammer…but there is more than what medical science pushes. It takes a healer to know the difference. Not all doctors are healers; many, if not most, are technicians. The doctor that gave the Peetes RJ’s diagnosis was likely a technician. Safe in his diagnosis, covering all bases to avoid liability. Bravo! Well done; a perfect display of modern medicine—think science and law all wrapped into one. But healing? Not by my definition.

Perhaps it’s peoples’ responsibility to take charge of their own health? That’s certainly the message I promote, since health comes from within. But doctors are facilitators—they assist in the healing process, and as such, I think giving the patient a dose of hope helps the prognosis. No doctor knows whether any one individual will be just another statistic in a particular condition. Doesn’t every person deserve to be considered one of the odds beaters until proven otherwise?

Anyway, I went up and talked to Rodney Peete during the book signing (Not My Boy!), and commended his and his wife’s decision to “think outside of the box.” I’ll let you read the book on your own to find out how the Peetes did this. He was gracious toward my praise and said that it is “amazing how things open up for you,” when you think outside of the box. I asked him what his thoughts were on receiving the diagnosis and daunting checklist of things his son would never be able to do. He said that some doctors are all too willing to nail that type of diagnosis without even blinking an eye.

Yes, I know—not thinking outside the box. Bless the Peetes for finding another way.

I’d also like to plug Holly Robinson Peete’s book, My Brother Charlie, written with her daughter Ryan Elizabeth (who read the book onstage today—very well done!)

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