All of us are patients.
Initially, I thought about the possibility of a new paradigm of practice from the viewpoint of a practitioner.
But, I’m also a patient, and pretty soon I realized that checking this out from just a practitioner perspective was faulty.
All of us have worked with a practitioner who either wasn’t able to help us (inevitable and understandable) or who was an egotistical, know-it-all nightmare and made us feel like shit (criminal and sad). Collectively, we have this story, and it not only hurts us as patients but also weakens the broader possibility of strong practitioner/patient relationships and our ability to communicate and heal.
Along with all of us being patients, we are also all different. This simple, biochemical fact makes practitioner-ing pretty hard. Also very exciting, but hard in that every client that walks through my door will have unique needs that I may or may not have ever worked with before.
Bio-individuality is one of the major foundations that I was taught (and now teach) at the Nutritional Therapy Association. It also rightly shows up as one of the main drivers of functional medicine. And, it has absolutely helped inform me about how to best help clients: essentially, how they – uniquely – need support. The importance of bio-individuality can’t be overstated, and it absolutely helped inform the patient focus of this project.
After a few years in practice I started to find more effective and authentic ways to work with my clients. (I have clients, not patients because I’m a nutritionist. So, you’ll notice that I use “client” and “patient” somewhat interchangeably when I write.) And when I worked with or read information from other practitioners who I respected I saw that they, too, followed some basic tenets to help their patients.
Every person is different. Respecting each person’s unique bio-individuality is a must. There is no one ‘right’ protocol, no matter how many blogs and books purport this to be the case.
Equally important is respect for a clients’ wishes and life, as opposed to the practitioners’ ideas about how the healing process should unfold. Ultimately, clients are in charge of their lives. A practitioner’s job is to advise and assist – not dictate.
I try to make recommendations with this same, client-focused perspective – recommendations should never be more stressful than the problem a client is trying to solve.
Finally, it is important to help clients learn to understand and follow their own innate wisdom and knowledge, not just be ‘compliant.’ Compliance is blindly following rules. Helping a client understand their physiology and how to adjust accordingly is the way toward healing.
In the next blog, we’ll cover the final part of Paradigm of Practice – information. 🙂 As a lover of research and information tracking, I’m excited to share this piece with you.