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Tuesday, June 22: The Medical and Emotional Checklists

         Back when I was working, the hospital had weekly updates to make staff aware of how cultural issues might alter a patient's medical concerns.  What might calm or reassure one patient could stress out those with different ethnic or cultural backgrounds. This Q & A was one of my favorites---first, for taking the time to listen to the patients' perceptions of their health condition, and secondly, for creating more patient awareness and responsibility for what was happening with their bodies.


Q:  To become more familiar with my culturally diverse patients' health beliefs, what resource could I utilize?

A:  The "Patients' Health Beliefs Assessment Guide", including the following questions:
      1.  What do you think caused your problem?
      2.  Why do you think it started when it did?
      3.  What does your sickness do to you?
      4.  How does it work?
      5.  How severe is your sickness? Will it have a long or short duration?
      6.  What kind of treatment do you think you should receive?
      7.  What are the most important results you hope to receive from this treatment?
      8.  What are the chief problems your sickness has caused you?
      9.  What do you fear most about your sickness?

Source:  Kleinman, A., Eisenberg, L., & Good, B. (1978). Culture, illness, and care: Clinical lessons from anthropological and cross-cultural research. Annals of Internal Medicine, 88, 256-257.


            I began wondering how many of these questions could be used to address emotional problems in our lives. By not taking responsibility for our reaction to emotional upsets, we often let other people determine the quality of our lives. The trouble makers may move on with their lives, while we continue carrying destructive cycles of anger and hurt and resentment.

            Forgiving is a gift you give yourself.   Rethink the above questions and try to notice what has been going on in your life and your reactions. Your own list will probably work best for you, since you can think out more specifically oriented questions, but these may give you ideas:

1.  What kind of choices led you into this relationship or situation?

2.  Are there other situations that put you in this same emotional position?

3.  Where were you in your life when this pattern first appeared? What did you need from the relationship?

4.  How do you react when you are in this situation? What defense systems are activated?

5.  What patterns of reactions are not working for you now?

6.  Does this pattern present a serious threat to your well-being or do you think if you were stronger/more confident, you would handle it differently?

7.  What kinds of changes in your own behavior or beliefs would change the choices you make now?

8.  What do you risk or lose out on by continuing these emotional patterns?

9.  What is your greatest fear about giving up the negative emotions?

         If we did this exercise on a regular basis, I think we'd notice more progress in our spiritual development.


Posted on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 06:40AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

These are great questions to consider when one is suddenly swept into an emotional upheaval. Especially because, by considering them, one will come to see that one always has a choice, which is empowering.
June 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermaria

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