Friday, 13 February 2015

The Wise Caring Clinician

     When a phenomenon, no matter how perverse, diffusely affects an entire culture, it can progressively come to feel "normal". When a phenomenon has spread across the globe, it can become entirely invisible - like water to fish who live completely immersed in it.
     Today's invisible global phenomenon is profound distraction. Obsessive distraction (busyness, workaholism, multitasking, smartphones, materialism, etc) is almost obliterating humanity's evolution towards wisdom. We increasingly favor quantity over quality, speed over care, cheap labor over employing people in our own communities. The vast majority of people have no training, ability, time or interest in living according to timeless wisdom traditions. 
     Humanity struggles, having abandoned en mass timeless profound human technologies for living meaningful lives - "ordinary unhappiness" is pandemic. Even health care is sadly forgetting the ideal of the wise, kind physician in a mindless rush toward big pharma and high-tech gadgetry. The "physician as the therapeutic agent" and "excellent bedside manner" sound strangely antiquated, despite their pivotal importance to healing.
     Mercifully mental health professionals are paying renewed attention to "common therapeutic factors": empathy, warmth, congruence, and the therapeutic alliance. These are “helpful to extremely helpful with virtually all clients” and "may, in fact, be at the core of therapeutic change.
     Many researchers and critics of counselor education suggest that training programs do not do enough to develop the person of the counselor or the requisite cognitive skills for establishing a strong working alliance. Together, this suggests that new training approaches may be needed. Mindfulness meditation practice may fill this gap."

        Bentley Greason P, Welfare LE. "The Impact of Mindfulness and Meditation Practice on Client Perceptions of Common Therapeutic Factors." Journal of Humanistic Counseling 2013; 52: 235-53.

     Therapeutic Presence:

Robert Pope


  1. I resonate with this, as I pack up this Friday evening after spending two hours with a very distressed client, some of it face to face sitting in chairs in my office, and some of it standing, stretching, breathing and sitting on the floor. I feel lucky to have the training, experience and physical space to work this way. I have made professional and personal choices and invested time and money in order to be able to work this way. I leave work with a heavy heart because of my client's suffering, but feel glad I could give her my undivided attention, and presence.

  2. I'm sure you gave your client wonderful care Geri.