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Empathy or Compassion

by Jul 21, 2017

The other day we were discussing in our Doctor and Patient Relationship class how to deal with all kinds of patients. How do you handle the chatty ones? How do you establish boundaries for the needy ones? How do you keep yourself in balance and don’t feel drained at the end of a work day? How much compassion or empathy do we need in order to help our patients? How do you not get involved, attached, or start judging?

I learned the hard way that working with people can be exhausting. Ten years ago, after my Reiki attunement, I worked for the first time on a cancer client and I ended up very sick. When I realized how much “junk” you can pick up, I gave up on Reiki, and I stopped using it with clients. I didn’t give up on energy healing but I researched other methods and chose the ones that kept me in balance and also much faster than Reiki.

Time has passed and I learned that as long as I stay neutral, I can actually help clients much more. Empathy or compassion might seem a must but from my own experience, it is more important to be there and help the patient, and this might not happen when you get too emotional. Your emotions combined with all your clients issues are a combination that you don’t want to work on. If I’d get emotional whenever a patient starts crying during a session, my life would be miserable and I would think I’m not in the right profession.

I’m not saying be cold and don’t listen to the patient. You can still be warm and “fuzzy” (if that’s your style), but keep yourself centered and don’t get caught in all the things you hear from the patient. The target here is to help them and not just offer them a shoulder to cry on. There are moments where they might need your shoulder, too, but keep it short and simple. Acupuncture will offer them relief anyway, so there is no need to waste time or dwell in complaints.

It takes some time to get used to dealing with people on a daily basis, but after some practice I can honestly say I actually enjoy seeing clients and helping them. I know I’m not perfect and I also realize that not every patient likes me but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I do my best for patients regardless of their problems or my own emotions, beliefs, issues, etc. As long as I keep reminding myself what’s important, I can stay neutral, be there for my patient, and help them feel better.

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About the Author

Iuliana Lixandru

Iuliana Lixandru

Hello! I'm Iuliana and I'm a student at National University of Health Sciences in the Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) program.


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