As a patient advocate and complementary medicine practitioner, I work with a lot of doctors. When you think about it, they’re pretty amazing people. They’ve worked enormously hard to get qualified in the first place, developing great technical expertise. As GPs and specialists they have wide experience and great intent.
A huge challenge for doctors is the nature of the systems they work in – the demands that are made on their time and energy by paperwork, bureaucracy, equipment and funding structures. I recognise just how much they have to squeeze in to their day, The hours they work and the emotional demands of their work are enormous.
Where we differ is more in world view and philosophy. Western medicine works on the basis of technical expertise, with an approach based on a mechanistic world view where individual systems are ‘repaired’. One of the consequences of specialisation is increasingly being recognised – that people get trapped inside their expertise – especially when they’re time-poor. This is increasingly being called the ‘silo effect’. In this sort of environment, medications can get piled on other medication, with compounding side effects.
I work from a practice based in holistic thinking – what is the whole system of your being? From that perspective, I often see more subtle patterns that time-poor doctors miss. My range of treatments is different too – which is why what I do is called ‘complementary health’ – it’s a separate range of specialist knowledge. Often we end up with better results and less harsh medication. We don’t ‘sack’ your doctors, we collaborate with them to get the best result for you.