To achieve true healing it is essential that there is sufficient time to piece together a patient’s personal jigsaw. In the West this should ideally be the job of the primary care provider, but with large practices, increasing administrative burdens and reduced consultation times this is becoming extremely difficult. Average general practitioner appointment times are 8-10 minutes and although longer appointments can be requested a patient may not always have the confidence to ask for this. It is not surprising then that there is very little opportunity for the practitioner to consider the whole picture.
I think we would all agree that it takes time for a practitioner and patient to build a relationship and it takes time for the practitioner to understand the case. In my practice, and other holistic practices, time is allowed for the patient to feel comfortable, and to reveal their story in their own words. In a first consultation I set aside a space of two hours. Sometimes even more time is needed. I have been known to spend three and a half hours on some occasions. I admit that this is a very long time and not ideal for a viable business model, but we do have cups of herbal tea to sustain us!
Why do I spend so long? Well in my view if I get that first understanding of the case right then the progress of the treatment will be smoother and quicker. It is an investment. I don’t want to fall into the trap of just glossing over the symptoms. I am after a sustainable healing, it may take a little longer but the original condition will not return if the root cause has been fully addressed.
Often the causative factors become clear as the case unfolds. This may be the first opportunity a patient has had to rationally think about all events leading up to the illness in a logical timeline. Identifying the underlying root cause becomes easier and a treatment plan presents itself.
Time to go through the case properly can also highlight lifestyle factors which need to be changed and why. I find that when people understand the cause and effect of adverse diet and lifestyle they are much more positive about changing them.
Then there may be the unresolved issues which have been buried for years. These can’t be shared in a quick ten minute slot. I have lost count of the times that patients have said ‘I have never told anyone that before’. The relief of being able to share is tangible and sometimes there are tears. These unprocessed inner burdens can eat away at us, clouding our ability to live life to the full and reducing our body’s ability to balance itself. Having the time to share, if that is what is needed, is a hugely significant aspect of healing.
In Tibetan Medicine there is no distinction made between the healing of the body and the healing of the mind. In fact all illness is considered to arise from not understanding the true nature of reality. Where there are issues which are getting in the way of healing then the texts contain excellent advice on ways of dealing with them. The idea is not necessarily to try and change the outer environment, but to work on our own minds so that we are more resilient to life’s obstacles. Only recently a patient reported a huge improvement because she was able to use one of these techniques to let go of an old resentment which had been bugging her for years.
So as a herbalist I need to make time to understand each individual case, as well as the time to understand the actions of each of the multitude of herbs at my disposal. Consultations can’t be rushed just as the preparing of medicine can’t be rushed.
We all have our own jigsaw, we just need the time to solve it.
For more information about Myrobalan Clinic visit www.myrobalanclinic.com