But you know, health practitioners are no longer asking us to ‘be a good girl or boy and take our medicine’ without having any input.
The CareTrack study reported in the news recently that only 57 per cent of Australians receive appropriate care from health care providers. While it was a mixed report highlighting both excellence and many inadequacies in treatment and care, a standout finding in my view was University of NSW, Prof Jeffrey Braithwaite’s statement, “Best care is a partnership between very good doctors and very good patients”.
A new paradigm is emerging where many medical practitioners, including GPs, psychologists and palliative carers, are working to change the paradigm which has made patients dependent. They know that the patient is an expert about their life experience and that patients need to be re-educated away from the belief that therapists have all the answers.
We’ve all heard the macho comment ‘she’ll be right, mate’, the resignation expressed in ‘this is the hand I’ve been dealt’ and the just too busy to stop, saying ‘I need to get better quickly and then it’s back to business as usual’ attitudes to health issues. I’ve found myself thinking in these ways at times, however they don’t seem to move me forward but leave me either with chronic problems or dealing with the same sort of health issues time and time again.
Aware of this learned helplessness, a growing number of physicians have been seeking to contribute to improved health care and helping patients gain control over decisions about their health by understanding the mental and emotional issues that lie at the root of health problems.
For many years now, doctors and researchers like Dr Herbert Benson have been telling us that ‘we now have scientific proof that the mind can heal the body’. That we have the innate ability to self-heal diseases, and prevent life-threatening conditions through mind/body treatment. He and many other physicians are now going one step further – to recommending that patients include spirituality as part of their healing treatment.
I have to admit that when I’ve been willing to drop preconceived outcomes and make changes to my attitude and outlook, this has brought healing solutions to every aspect of my life. Overcoming self-importance to accept a ‘lesser’ job offer opened opportunities for training and experience in new fields. Letting go of irritated and frustrated behaviour opened the way to seeing answers to financial and relationship problems. Being willing to take time to meditate and pray daily, enabled me to develop a spiritual perspective and I found that physical healings of such things as colds, warts and even infertility followed.
At these times I’ve often worked with someone who dedicates their full-time to prayer and healing in Christian Science, which looks beyond the physical universe to understand it spiritually. They have been great partnerships as we’ve worked together to see my healthy and whole spiritual identity, in the way that the divine sees me.
Mary Baker Eddy, an early researcher into the affect of spirituality on health elucidated this spiritual reality in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. This book explains that “Man is the expression of God’s being” – totally good – that we are dearly loved and that love is integral to our experience.
Amazingly, these changes in my understanding of reality have healed my body!
Whether our health partnership is with a practitioner of medicine, alternative therapy or spiritual health care, we can be sure that our spirit of resilience, desire for inward change and willingness to make the necessary adjustments to our lives will be the catalyst for healing.
We’ll become ‘very good’ patients seeking ‘very good’ health practitioners.