We had the Denver Debrief for The Conversation #6 this past weekend. Unlike previous sessions, the attendees were entirely male. It’s where I was introduced to the concept of Testosterone Poisoning. One of the symptoms of this malady is to define oneself by what one does. It manifests as an instinctual desire to fix things. Especially patients and specifically their spines. This, as participants of The Conversation discovered, is a serious trap. It ensnares many male chiropractors and invites two annoying problems that seem to plague chiropractors of the male persuasion.
When Patients Reject Your Overtures
Patients aren’t merely spinal delivery systems created for you to perform your artistry upon! Regardless of their physical maladies, they begin chiropractic care with their free will and skewed priorities intact. Combine this with the inconvenience of showing up in your office three times a week, with a dash of skepticism and some patients may be inclined to rebuff your overtures, ignoring some or all of your recommendations. The result? Patients who may be delighted with your care, but who discontinue care without warning which you’re inclined to take personally, inviting self-doubt or even anger.
When Patients Don’t Get Better
Then, there are the patients who don’t get better. While the percentage of patients who don’t see the improvement they were hoping for falls in the single digit range, this is enough to convict many chiropractors into taking still more technique courses. As if the patient’s recovery, after delivering a masterful series of adjustments was somehow their fault. Never mind that they failed to discover whether the physical, emotional or chemical stressor that produced their subluxation pattern was still present in the patient’s life! When you’re drunk on testosterone it’s hard to see the forest for the trees.
If you’re one who is not inclined to stop and ask for directions, you may be suffering from Testosterone Poisoning. The antidote? More listening and less speaking. Recognize that you don’t (and frankly can’t) fix everything. Learning a new technique, thrusting more forcefully or blaming the patient (or yourself) is not the answer. The occasional cases where your best efforts don’t appear to work serve a helpful purpose: to keep you humble. God is a jealous God.