One of the biggest challenges to anyone in any healthcare practice is patient compliance. Basically, that’s the part where the patient actually agrees to follow the instructions that you give them so that they’ll get better. This is probably the main obstacle to most people getting better. Either they “feel fine” shortly into the program and then give up the rest of the time (like quitting your antibiotics after only a couple of days because it looks like the infection is “gone”), or the program is just too much time energy effort inconvenience whatever for them to stay interested.
This is frustrating for physicians of any path because it appears on the outside to be a massive disrespect to their role. Ideally, they have studied and learned all they can about the human condition. Again, ideally, they have spent time with the patient/client, learning about their health problems, running tests, and considering what can be done to bring about a positive solution. To have someone decide that that program isn’t going to work – and specifically I’m talking about people who abandon their programs without consulting any kind of physician – it’s like a slap in the face. Did the doctor do something wrong? Is there a loss of trust?
There are situations where it is appropriate to make up your own mind and go a different way from that proscribed by the attending physician. A scenario that comes to mind is when a person sees an allopathic doctor for a specific problem, is given pills based on a very short interview, and then later the person finds out that the pills are not only not solving the problem but making a lot more problems. The person tries to get back with the physician to change the regimen or get off the pills or whatever, and the doctor clearly has neither the time nor the patience (ha ha) to solve the problem, only to up the dose or add another drug.
And do not misunderstand. There are naturopaths out there that are just as bad as allopaths at the “here, take this” attitude. It is not industry-specific.
The same problem crops up when people ask for non-health-specific advice from non-health advisors. If someone calls me and wants to know what to do about a particular problem, I give the problem my attention, I call on my sources, I pull up from any wisdom that makes sense in the given situation, and I design a program around it. It can be as simple as “Hey, don’t go to that party, it’s going to be a cat-shit sandwich” or as complicated as giving a run-down on a longer process of preparation, release, and healing.
When someone goes to the effort of asking for my advice, I personally try to make sure that it is absolutely the best advice possible. I take a great deal of personal pride in the quality of the advice I give. So, when they go in the other direction, or ignore my words completely, I tend to get a little worried and often more than a little miffed. (I’m not talking about people who have taken that advice into consideration and then adjusted circumstances of their own volition. I’m talking about completely ignoring what I’ve said.)
Normally, when this happens, whatever the bad thing was that I was warning them about happens. They call again and want to know what to do to fix it. I tell them. They still don’t listen, and things get worse. That’s when I usually cut them off and will not talk about their problems any more or offer any advice.
Sometimes I wonder if the real problem is not so much with the person or with the physician but more with a shared understanding of what the problem really is. If you have a long history of bad relationships, the problem is obviously not that every single person of your preferred gender is a douche-bag/asshole/user/whatever – the problem clearly has to start with you since you are the common element in all of those bad relationships. It may be that you are enabling a specific behavior, or maybe you are attracting a specific type of person to yourself. Either of these things (and many more) can be fixed.
The other day, I came up with a pretty neat analogy:
You are a caterpillar and you have gone to see the insect mystic. The mystic informs you that your time of transformation is coming very soon, and the very best place to go for this magical event is up the big tree, take the left fork, go up three branches to the right, and then stop at the second sub-branch. There is where it should happen.
But you don’t understand why you have to go through all that trouble. Can’t you just metamorphosize here? That would be so much easier.
What the mystic might’ve wanted to share, though, was that if you weave your cocoon here on the ground, you’re not in a protected place. Water can get into your shell and mess up the process. A bird may find you tasty and available in the open air. Something could come along and mindlessly squish you.
If the mystic had explained these things, would you be more inclined to take his advice to heart and follow those instructions more specifically? If you understood all of the things that had brought you to this point – that you have now collected the appropriate number of lessons and calories – would you honor that by heeding the mystic’s words?
If the mystic has taken that time in the past to explain things, but maybe didn’t have time to explain them just then, would you believe that you didn’t need to know all that other stuff and could thus make your own decision, or would you keep in mind that the entirety of his message was valuable before and so must be now?
It’s a complex problem.