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Getting Unstuck: Healing From Trauma With TCM, Qigong & Movement
We all come into this world vulnerable, with seeds to grow into our strength. Some of us — through a combination of good fortune (i.e., family and culture we are born into, constitutional inheritance, or ability to learn) grow with minimal interruption from traumatic injuries and experiences.
AOM Residency at NUNM
Imagine you're a recent acupuncture graduate, worried about making enough income as you forge your new career and seek more in-depth training in a particular treatment style.
Treating the Lower Pelvis (Pt. 2): Midline Structures and Fascia
My previous article [October 2016 issue] outlined evaluation and treatment of pelvic issues involving the sacrotuberous ligament and the pubic symphysis. Now let's discuss two case studies that illustrate how to address additional problematic areas of the pelvis.
Gather & Grow
I recently attended a faculty seminar held by one of the acupuncture schools. There was a facilitator who led us through some very interesting experiences. The attendees were a diverse group with varying opinions.
Helping Patients With Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease (PD), a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects motor function, has a slow onset over time.
A Brief History of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Doctoral Programs
A doctorate in acupuncture and Oriental medicine has been a goal of the profession since its beginnings in the late 1970s. At that time, however, the maturity of the educational institutions and the regulatory environment made it a goal with only a distant completion date.
News in Brief
The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) board members recently met with the Korean Customs Service, which is similar to the FDA, to discuss herbal safety and importation issues.
Reader Beware: Consider the Source
The aftermath of last year's presidential elections brought a running conversation on the role played by "fake news" that was largely presented via social media.
Waist Circumference: A Conversation Starter
New estimates suggest more than two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. The medical significance of this statistic is astounding.
Advancing the "Whole Organ" Spine Model
Historically, the human spine has been organized by body region utilizing specific anatomical landmarks and transition zones.
4 Things Every DC Should Know About Levels of Care & Prevention
As health practitioners, we help people with their health problems and assist them with health promotion and disease prevention.
Paperwork Done Wrong, Done Right
I was visiting a doctor's office recently and a member of his staff brought a stack of forms to his private office and laid them on the doctor's desk. She informed him he needed to complete the forms for patients and a few third parties.
Spiritual Initiation: Opening Your Higher Healing Abilities
People drawn to the field of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine tend to be those who march to the beat of a different drummer.
The Large Intestine Official
The large intestine (AKA colon) is the great eliminator, or as J.R. Worsley called it, "The Drainer of the Dregs." Dregs are defined as the remnants of liquid with its sediment left in a container, or the basest, least valuable portion of anything.
Latest Cassidy Study on Stroke Risk Published
The latest study to investigate whether a unique association between chiropractic manipulation and risk of cervical artery dissection / stroke exists has yielded similar encouraging findings, with the authors noting "no excess risk of carotid artery stroke after chiropractic care" and no significant risk difference between patients receiving care from a DC or a primary care medical provider.
Near-Infrared Therapy for Diabetic Neuropathy
The pain experienced by people with diabetes is a symptom of diabetic neuropathy. The impact on quality of life is significant. Pain makes walking difficult, sleep troublesome, and eventually contributes to a decrease in social interaction.
VF Works / DMX Works Epilogue: Almost Two Decades Later, the Lawsuits Continue
An article in the March 8, 1999 edition of Dynamic Chiropractic examined whether then-VF Works / Nu-Best Franchising was selling its franchises illegally to doctors of chiropractic.
Chiropractic in Texas Is Under Attack
The profession of chiropractic faces an unprecedented challenge in Texas, an attack that is more aggressive, sustained and dangerous than anything previously seen. The medical lobby has launched a coordinated, multi-front assault.
House Calls With Dad
My father was a chiropractor and he did house calls. On Wednesday nights, while my mother attended the weekly women's meeting at the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs hall in our small town, dad loaded up the portable adjusting table, fired up the Pontiac and drove off to treat a few patients in their homes. I went with him.
The Acupuncture Channel System (Part 2)
The primary channels (main channels) are introduced in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, these channels are referenced in many chapters throughout the Su Wen and the Ling Shu. The primary channels have become the main channel system used in TCM.
ICA Goes on the Vaccine Offensive
Have you watched the vaccination documentary, "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe," by Andrew Wakefield MD, director, and Del Bigtree, producer? This is the documentary Robert DeNiro was pressured to remove from his Tribeca Film Festival.
TCM & the Caregiving Population: Treatment Considerations & Our Vital Role
Informal caregiving is increasingly a reality for many Americans who find themselves providing unpaid care for a loved one or a family member with a long-term, terminal, or chronic illness.
December, 2015, Vol. 15, Issue 12
Facilitating a Coaching Conversation
By Ben Benjamin, PhD
In previous articles, I've made the argument that in many instances, it's less useful to give a client advice than to provide coaching that helps them discover their own solutions.Here, I'm going to discuss one particular circumstance in which advice-giving is both very tempting and potentially very risky: responding to a client who's facing a major decision and asks you directly what you think they should do. The decision may be closely related to the work you're doing with them (e.g., deciding whether to give up a sport in which they've sustained multiple injuries), or it may have little or no connection (e.g., deciding to start or end a personal or professional relationship).
It's often hard to know what to say in such situations. For decisions that are very personal or far outside your scope of work (such as whether to file for divorce or make a risky investment), an outside referral (to a psychotherapist, financial consultant, or other professional) is probably in order. But in other cases, simply advising the person to speak to someone else may feel inadequate. Suppose the person is considering quitting their job. They've talked to you repeatedly about how much stress they experience at work, and it seems to be contributing to extreme muscle tension and chronic headaches. When the client says, "Tell me honestly — what do you think I should do?" What's the best response?
On the one hand, you probably care about the client's well-being and want to encourage them to reduce the stress in their life. You also don't want to be evasive or hold back the truth of what you think. So it may be tempting to say, "Absolutely, I think you should do it."
On the other hand, you don't know all the details of the situation and you're not a counselor (although clients with strong transference may treat you as though you were). Furthermore, this decision is so significant that it really needs to be driven by the client's own values, judgments, preferences, and desires. When people base critical life choices on the recommendations of external authorities — whether it's a massage therapist, psychotherapist, religious leader, boss, elder family member, or self-help guru — they don't get the opportunity to learn from their own mistakes and successes. That type of learning is critical for developing a strong internal compass, sense of competence, and capacity for making better decisions in the future.
Answering a direct request for decision-making advice isn't necessarily unethical, and it may even be the right thing to do in certain circumstances (for example, in a case of physical abuse). However, many times, you can do more good by having a coaching conversation instead. I've talked about coaching in general as incorporating several key guidelines: get permission for having the discussion; inquire and reflect more than you advocate; remain curious; and focus on solutions, rather than problems. There's one specific approach that I've found to be particularly helpful when coaching a client attempting to make a decision, especially when that decision involves just two or three clearly defined alternatives (such as taking an action vs. doing nothing). It can help the person to see aspects of a complex issue that they've overlooked, which — in combination with skillful questioning and reflection — often enables them to discover a creative, satisfying resolution. What follows is an example of how you might describe this method to a client and then put it into practice.
Client: "Tell me honestly — what do you think I should do? Should I quit my job or not?"
Therapist: "That's a hard question. This is a big decision, and I don't know enough to say what's going to be best for you. I do know of a decision-making method that's often useful in this kind of situation, and I'd be happy to walk you through it to help you get clearer on what you really want. Would that be helpful, or no?"
Client: "I was hoping you'd just tell me what to do! But okay, sure, we can try that method."
Therapist: "Okay, great. What I'll invite you to do is to first spend some time thinking about all the advantages of leaving your job. Focus just on the positives — on how that makes sense and could improve your life. Then you'll switch and instead consider all the advantages of staying in your job. Do you want to give this a try?"
Therapist: "Okay, so what's good about the idea of leaving your job?"
Client: "At the moment, everything about leaving seems good! I'm so exhausted and burnt out. I think if I got out of this situation, I'd be a lot happier and more relaxed."
Therapist: "Anything else that would be good?"
Client: "I'd have more time with my kids. My oldest will be going off to college next year, and I want to be more present for her while she's still here. Of course, I can't go without an income forever. I can't be unemployed six months from now. So maybe this is a really irresponsible idea, and I should just stay where I am."
Therapist: "So now you're getting into the downsides of leaving your job. Before we go there, is there anything else that's positive about leaving?"
Client: "Oh, right. Yeah, I think if I could pull it off, I'd end up healthier outside of this work environment. I'm not eating well or sleeping well, and I'm tense all the time."
Therapist: "So you're thinking getting out, or getting into a different work environment, would help you get healthier?" (Reflection/clarification.)
Client: "I do. In my last job, I took real lunch breaks so I'd get out and go for a walk. And I had time and energy to cook at home, so I was making healthier food for myself. I really think that away from this job, I'd lose 30 pounds and my overall health and well-being would increase dramatically."
Therapist: "Can you think of any other positives of leaving your job, or are you ready to look at what's good about staying?"
Client: "I'm ready to look at why I should stay. I know it's risky to just quit without having another job. I won't get unemployment, and if I can't find anything else we'll be in real financial trouble. At the same time, I'm so burnt out that the last thing I feel up to is a job search."
Therapist: "So, in terms of the positives of staying, it's the financial security?" (Reflection/clarification.)
Client: "That's right. I make a very competitive salary, and the benefits are good, too."
Therapist: "And beyond that, is there anything else on the plus side?"
Client: "Well, I do like the work I do. I feel like I'm making a real difference in the world. And I've gotten to meet a lot of amazing people."
Therapist: "That's interesting. It's sounding as though you like a lot of things about your job." (Reflection/clarification.)
Client: "I do — or at least I would, if the workload weren't so crazy."
Therapist: "And what would need to change for the workload to not be so crazy?"
Client: "Basically, I'd need to get an assistant. I had one in my last job. But this position doesn't have a budget for that."
Therapist: "So, if you could get an assistant, you might achieve some of those benefits you'd hoped to get from leaving your job?" (Reflection/clarification.)
Client: "Yeah, then it would be more like that last position, a lot more manageable."
Notice how a possible creative solution has begun to emerge — one that's different from either option the client had been considering before. The coach didn't suggest this idea, but just helped the client consider both sides of the issue (focusing just on the positives), reflect and clarify what was heard, and ask a key open-ended question ("What would need to change?"). Figuring out the details of a resolution would take a little more time, and this first idea (hiring an assistant) may end up not working out. But one way or another, this type of coaching conversation is likely to help the client achieve greater clarity. And it does so in a way that is much more empowering and motivating than simply telling them what to do.
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