An unintentional experiment in the clinic

Computers are wonderful tools — when they work! I’m thinking back to the moment a few years ago when I discovered a major data corruption had happened to my clinic calendar — my eyes grew wider and wider as I realized that all the patient names had been wiped clean off of my clinic schedule, leaving only the blocked out appointment times. I only knew when to expect a patient to show up, but not who it was going to be!

This was certainly a very interesting few weeks in the clinic, as we worked to set up a new calendar system, while in the meanwhile, I learned to “fly without instrumentation” as far as participating each patient in the moment. Despite the practical stress this situation caused, it turned out to be a very productive exercise for me to deepen my diagnostic skills, as I had to let go of any planning or pre-conceived notions about each patient. As I wrote yesterday, one of the unique aspects of Heilkunst is its approach to diagnosis. Simply put, one of the key differences is that of participating each patient, rather than simply observing them from the outside, in order to get into the diagnosis of the deeper causation behind the symptoms.

I can assure you that this unintentional exercise very dramatically heightened my ability to do this, as I had no choice but to completely let go into the moment, and allow each day to unfold for me, without my intellect getting in the way in terms of expectations and anticipated content.

It’s human nature to build up prejudices within our mind about our patients, and despite out best intentions, it is difficult to free ourselves to see the person before us as they are in the moment, rather than how we already have defined them in our mind. Once I learned to truly let go into this experience I discovered a consistent level of depth participation which I have fortunately been able to retain to this day (even now that my calendar is working normally again).

I know that my patients have benefited from this, as they feel much more consistently understood, and that their health and issues are being connected to at a deeper level, and that they can feel more confident in the process and its results. The process of healing is continually unfolding, and the only way to truly keep on top of it is in the moment, rather than in a static “treatment plan” which may provide a good map, but which must be altered at many steps along the journey.

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