I don't usually visit cemetaries--they're usually staid and ceremonial. But this one was different. (Special thanks to our VitalTalk Down Under goddess Anne O'Callaghan).
When we're frustrated with patients, what to do? What i learned in my training was not just ineffective--it probably does damage. But there's another way.
A body of research shows that emotions aren't what they seem--they're not pre-formed, not consistent between people, and don't have any sort of neurologic 'signature'. So then, what are they? Lisa Feldman Barrett explains this brilliantly in her new book How Emotions Are Made--and in this blog we explain what it means for communication about serious illness. (Disclosure: I'm in the acknowledgements--a very generous shout out, but Lisa is the one who is changing the paradigm!)
Sometimes patients find the notion of a 'goal' daunting. They stammer, get tangential, and don't point you to their values. For those times, you need an alternative.
When you hear patients say "I'm a fighter", you might want to shake your head *no*. But you can do much better.
When you're busy at work, how do you add a new skill? Hint: it rhymes with 'bigger'.
You can't use the same exact skills to communicate with a patient that you use with a colleague. (Hint: don't say 'You're not a failure.')