A central philosophy in my practice is to work in partnership with my clients. I’m a facilitator, not a healer. Calling myself a healer implies I have authority over someone else’s healing which puts the client in a helpless or victim role. My goal is to support and assist each individual toward self-care, self awareness and wellness. I remind my clients everyday, your body knows better than anyone, we just have to listen to what it is saying. It’s amazing to hear and feel what comes up when we listen and allow rather than come from a place of control and fix.
I wrote this post because I’m stunned by how the model of healer/victim prevails in the health field. When I seek assistance from health care practitioners, I’m looking for a partnership/supportive relationship whether it’s with a massage therapist, chiropractor, MD, ND, or acupuncturist. …but I rarely find it. The hierarchal model of ”doctor (practitioner) know best” usually predominates in the health field. The one thing a physician/practitioner can do to lose me as a patient is to dismiss my opinion/intuition regarding my own body. Yes, I am seeking out their professional opinion or their expertise in manual therapies, but a good practitioner is first and foremost a good listener.
I remember years ago, when I went to a gynecologist for an annual pelvic exam, when I asked her to tell me which way my uterus was leaning (indicating that a retroverted uterus could have something to do with my ovulation pain)… she laughed at me. She totally laughed at me! She didn’t pat me on the head, but she might as well have. Talk about feeling belittled! I’d like to think that if I didn’t have a speculum in my vagina and didn’t just wait 90 minutes for her to finally show up for the appointment, I would have walked out right then and there. Instead I stayed on the exam table like an obedient child. Why do we so easily hand over our power when we are in an exam/treatment room? If you are my client, I encourage you to speak up, I will listen and I certainly won’t laugh at your questions. In fact, I love it when clients participate in the session and share their insights.
Side rant: Why can’t doctors be on time…ever? Making me wait is like saying that their time is more important than mine. I have worked with clients for 16 years and have never made anyone wait. Scheduling is not that hard. End rant.
Why do practitioners so readily assume all the power? Perhaps it’s arrogance, but more than likely I’m guessing it’s lack of time to explore and be present, or perhaps they are coming from a place of insecurity. I think it’s easy to fall into the “I should know everything because that’s what they are paying me for” mentality, or “my self-worth is based on how many people I can save”. Sure, we may be able to help someones pain go away for the time being, but unless we as practitioners facilitate healing on a deeper level through teaching self-care, prevention and self empowerment the “healing” may only be temporary.
I’m not saying I never fall into the “I will fix you” mentality when working with clients. I don’t want people to suffer, it’s a natural human instinct to want to fix those who suffer. When I catch myself trying to fix someone, I know that I’m not listening with my ears, heart or hands.
Philosophies behind my approach: