How to handle intolerance
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16-Jul-2013 10:02 AM
I’m wondering how other people handle this situation… I have several patients who openly say very intolerant remarks about others’ race, religion, politics, etc, while in the treatment room. I am a very non-confrontational type of person. My goal has always been to keep the clinic a neutral space where anyone can feel safe and welcome, never discussing politics and other things that people get very heated about.
I tend most often to respond by trying to change the subject. I don’t want to get engaged in a debate with them as it doesn’t seem like it would serve any purpose – it won’t help their treatment any, and I highly doubt I will have any effect on their viewpoint. But nor do I want my silence to imply that I’m in agreement with their opinions.
What do you do in these situations?
16-Jul-2013 12:03 PM
Well – I just won’t tolerate intolerance! Seriously though, this does happen and it is best to not engage in the subject of politics or religion even if you seem to be in agreement. It sets a tone that can turn into a problem. With those whose views really bother you, work on how to change the subject as you say. Steer them back to issues relating to their care as most people are only too happy to talk about themselves and their care is why they have come to you in the first place. You can always first say something that sounds like you are agreeing with them when your not like – ” That bothers me a lot too – so how has your knee been feeling since I saw you last?”
The main thing is to not let your personal dislike for a patient’s opinions change how you approach them in your job as a healer. The only thing you should be judging is how to better help their health issues no matter how much of a disagreeable, intolerant person they may be. Just look at it as an exercise in refining your own level of tolerance.
16-Jul-2013 02:01 PM
My favorite response is, “Hmmm….” Then I insert my next needle right after I clear my Liver Qi.
Peter C Doyle
01-Aug-2013 03:27 PM
Thank you, both. That’s very affirming to how I’ve been handling it.
02-Aug-2013 05:24 AM
Absolutely. What’s medicine if not supporting our community. Always appreciate an opportunity to dialogue with a fellow clinician. And sometimes patient support could include a wake up call. Tricky the timing of that though, and explaining how toxic qi (read poisonous thoughts here) can affect health is a very nuanced thing. Often building rapport on an organic level can lead to other things.
Peter C Doyle