ISSN 1538-1080

Deceiving People Into Health

Deceiving People Into Health

Many years ago one of our children brought home a canvas he had decorated in his school art class. He had filled the entire canvas with the word words. As a surgeon what immediately struck me was that you can kill or cure with a sword, or scalpel. But that you could also kill or cure with words when wordswordswords become swordswordswords. Physicians are not taught how to communicate with patients. Due to their fear of being sued, doctors tell people all of the adverse side effects of therapy and usually neglect to mention the benefits. There are good reasons for doctors to be concerned about lawsuits. Western medicine is acknowledged as the third leading cause of death. Only cancer and heart disease kill more people. The media list numerous negative effects of treatments, sensitizing people to expect the worst. Every time I hear a TV commercial mentioning how the pill being advertised can kill you, I wonder why anyone would try it. I began to realize how important a patients beliefs were from my experience and their experience and not from their diagnosis. In a sense it is summed up by the story of Dr. Milton Erickson writing in a patients chart and then excusing himself and stepping out of the office for a minute. When the patient peeked at the chart she saw, Doing well written there. How therapeutic! I also learned to ask people how they would describe what they were experiencing versus telling me their diagnosis. Then, if they were negative words, I would ask how and what in their lives fit those words. The words they would share, like pressure. describing her pain, or failure in her cancer experience, led me to helping them eliminate the negative pressures in their lives and what made them feel like failures

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