“It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has.”
I was looking for quotes for a presentation I’m doing in a few weeks and I came across this quote by Hippocrates.
It got me thinking about the clients that come into my clinics and how true this is. How it’s important that each client is the focus of every consultation, not the disease.
So how is this applied exactly?
Any two people can walk through the door with the same condition, but they will be totally different in terms of root cause, personality and therapeutic needs. They will have different issues in their lives, different dietary preferences, different drives, different support networks, different goals. Some people require lots of support outside of the consulting room; others require none.
As a therapist, it’s important for me to recognise these factors and deal with them appropriately – to treat each client, not as a set of symptoms, but as individuals. To see how it is best to serve them, so together we achieve the health goals they wish to reach.
Just like the people who come to see me, the root cause of any symptom is highly individual. One person’s illness may be driven by stress which is undermining their immune or digestive function; another may have a long history of antibiotic use that created a microbiome imbalance; some medications might create nutritional or hormonal imbalances; pain might be exacerbated by previous traumatic events as well as poor diet.
Usually there are a number of factors involved, and it’s up to me to unpick all the information given, and create a plan that, over time, removes all the onion layers of ill health to reveal the heart of better health beneath.
Recognising a person’s individuality is also vital when giving them a plan of action – for some, gentle guidance is better accepted than a long list of changes that can lead to a feeling of overwhelm. Others want a challenge, something they can get their teeth into, where they see instant results.
So my role is to understand what makes each person tick, to be clear about their goals, and to guide them forward in a way that suits them.
It is also up to me to empower them by helping them to understand the reasons behind their symptoms, and give them the information they require to stick to a healthier lifestyle and take back their health in the long term.
Because what really makes a difference to us all when we are adopting changes in our lives is: to be recognised for who we are, to feel understood, and to to be given the chance to regain power over our lives, as we travel on the journey to becoming a healthier version of ourselves.
Have you any thoughts on this? What has affected you the most or made the biggest difference to you when dealing with a health professional?