Are You Connecting at a Human Level?

Because of its relevance to our Patient Success Systems business, Beth, John and I recently attended a presentation by Rachel Naomi Remen, a physician who has written a wonderful book, Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal, about the role of doctors being human, or as she says, “tapping into your humanness as a way to facilitate healing in your patients.”

Rachel has chosen storytelling as a way to illustrate the importance of human connection. She is a gifted storyteller who speaks from her heart, and it is clear she comes from a long line of storytellers. Some of her most poignant stories were those about her grandfather and the stories he told her.

During her presentation she articulated the discomfort she experienced as a young doctor when she began emphasizing her humanness in order to connect with patients, this was often seen as unprofessional. It was actually her own experience as a patient recovering from debilitating surgery that allowed her to understand the role of true connection in healing. Her story contrasted the experience between being treated as an illness and being treated as a person.

Her premise is that we can be truly impacted by a moment of human connection because that connection creates a space for healing. In her own case she had been very depressed following her surgery—a depression that her providers failed to recognize. By chance, a woman who assisted her with a medical device was the first person in the hospital to create a meaningful human connection with her. As a result of this connection, Rachel decided that she could, in fact, not only recover but also live fully. The sweet irony of this story is that the woman who made this connection with Rachel may not realize how powerful and meaningful that connection turned out to be. It is not uncommon that the people who make theses connections are surprised to find meaningful theses experiences were.

The main message that Rachel conveyed is the importance of bringing your humanness—who you are—to whatever you do. What ultimately can happen as a result of doing this is that we ourselves recognize that we are enough—what we are in the world is exactly right. This butts up against the idea or belief that we are not enough.

What was wonderful about this experience for me is that her ideas reinforced what I already believe. It was germane to the work and training that Beth, John and I bring to the medical community. But I realize, however, that our communication skills training will not work very well without the underlying beliefs about human connecting. Without this belief, the training is just a set of skills or tools. It is the intent to connect at the basic human level that makes such a profound difference. To summarize it the way that Rachel did, physicians are trained to be technicians, so they take an objective viewpoint utilizing the tools or interventions appropriate for the illness or injury rather than recognizing that they are working with a human being. Yet, it is often the connection at a human level that allows healing to take place.

Are you truly connecting with your clients? I am interested in hearing your stories about connecting with others or being “connected with.” What happened as a result? Please share your comments and experiences below. 

P.S. Do you want to reprint this article? Please do. Just be sure that it remains intact and includes the following bio.

About Terry: Terry Hickey, M.S., is a Certified NLP Professional Coach, Business Trainer and Consultant, a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the co-owner of NLP Advantage Group. Originator of the Belief Breakthrough Method™, Terry specializes in teaching coaches and entrepreneurs how to rapidly resolve limiting beliefs about wealth and success. His tips and strategies can help you launch yourself into the future you want… NOW. /http://terryhickey.com

Categories : Random Musings

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