Many years ago one of our children brought home a canvas he had decorated in his school art class. He had filled the entire canvas with the word words. As a surgeon what immediately struck me was that you can kill or cure with a sword, or scalpel. But that you could also kill or cure with words when wordswordswords become swordswordswords. Physicians are not taught how to communicate with patients and due to their fear of being sued tell people all of the adverse side effects of therapy and never mention the benefits. Every time I hear a TV commercial mentioning how the pill being advertised can kill you I wonder why anyone would try it.
I began to realize how important a patient’s beliefs were from my experience and their experience and not their diagnosis. In a sense it is summed up by Dr. Milton Erickson writing in a patient’s chart and then excusing himself and stepping out of the office for a minute. When the patient peeked at the chart she saw, “Doing well” written there. How therapeutic.