You ARE Your Patient

We began watching season 4 of Being Erica last night, and learned that the first lesson which the therapists in training have to learn is that “you are your patient”. What does this mean? Well, in the world of resonance, which is Heilkunst’s domain, a correct diagnosis can only be produced through an act of participation, rather than mere observation. The former is a penetrative act, and the latter only reflects what is visible on the surface.

Resonance is a function which not only applies to the positive and likeable qualities we encounter, but also to the negative and the repulsive. We shy away from negative resonance, but embracing it is the source of expanding our life function.

This lesson from Being Erica reminded me of the book I read years ago called You Are Your Instrument, which I initially assumed was a book for singers, but instead was a book for all musicians around taking proper care of your bodily ergonomics in relation to your instrumental technique. The outside-in approach to making music is the source for repetitive strain, and other injuries, where the focus is merely on the outer form of music (ie the external result), and not on the inner movement of energy which is its true source. The key lesson in the book involves connecting from the inside-out to the music, so that the whole body and mind is involved in a way which not only prevents strain and injury, but also a more beautiful result in the sound.

Applying this idea back to the diagnosis of the patient, the whole story is only revealed through an act of participation, where the practitioner identifies with the patient as if they were encountering an aspect of themselves. The greater ones health is, the easier it becomes to resonate with a more extensive spectrum of human qualities, rather than relegating the darker ones to the shadow regions. In some situations, I’ll explain a similar concept to patients, in the sense of exposing oneself to dark qualities, as found in some art or film or music, as expressions of our shadow side. The less that a practitioner has come to terms with their own shadow, the smaller will be the circle of patients they are able to truly relate to and help.

The old expression “Physician, heal thyself” speaks exactly to this point. The less whole or integrated the physician is within themselves, the less is their capacity to connect with the diseased aspects of the patient. Holding a position of superiority over the patient is a sign that the physician is relatively immature in their development of this deeper integration within themselves.

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