I Want To Learn More About You
It’s not so much the content of what you say but your approach and delivery. Anyone can walk in with pride and command a patient to do this or that, but the chances that the patient will listen to you or open up are not that high. An honest approach followed by consistent listening and the development of rapport and a strong therapeutic alliance will take the patient much farther into his or her treatment.
This is because like anyone in life, psychiatric patients desire authenticity. Patients are very good at sniffing doctors who are authentic from those who just go to work to make a living. The former are the ones who tend to be of the most help, regardless of the medical school or residency which they have attended. Patients want a doctor who can connect with them and put them before the doctor’s pride and image.
It’s very difficult for psychiatric patients to deal with their mental illness, especially when they are involuntarily locked into a psychiatric unit for up to 60 days at a time. Not only are they battling their internal demons, but their environment which is a closed unit with windows, some computers and a television displaying negative news from around the world. The last thing that they need is a doctor who is not authentic in their ways.
On the other hand, many physicians are struggling themselves with balancing work and their personal lives. Especially in the field of psychiatry, it’s not easy to listen and talk all day about other people’s problems and then go home and take care of yourself and your family. There is currently a high burnout rate among physicians around the world; the stress and pressure of the job is very demanding and adds up over time.
Many physicians don’t actually intend to mistreat a patient with disrespect; they are just so stressed out themselves that their encounter with the patient may come off as non-empathetic. But this is the difference between great physicians and mediocre ones; the former know how to keep their stress levels in check and maintain their professionalism at all times.
Overall, the field of psychiatry is not an easy one. Many believe that it’s not difficult to just sit around all day and talk, but talking everyday for 8-12 hours does become very tiring, especially if your life is not balanced. Whether patient or physician, everyone has a different struggle that they experience, but at the end of the day, we should all aim for authenticity and respect and nothing less.
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)