What is healthy communication? The purpose of healthy communication is to bring about positive change. This past weekend, I delivered the Healthy Communication Workshop at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. This might have been the last time, at least for awhile, as I’m unable to present in September due to a scheduling conflict. Here’s what I told my latest crop of freshmen med students.
Positive change is ultimately is the role of any doctor whose primary concern is the health of his or her patient, whether that’s restoring it, maintaining it, or increasing it. That’s not all doctors of course, as many are disease focused. (With conventional doctors whose main focus is disease, their primary concern is to properly diagnose and then treat the disease, usually by prescribing petroleum derivatives and then at some point cutting off the troublesome body parts).
Healthy communication is fundamental in the doctor/patient relationship. But healthy communication isn’t just about interacting with patients. And it isn’t just for doctors and medical students.
It’s also essential for students to be able to deal with each other in a high stress environment, and to engage with their teachers and school administrators too. It’s also a necessary element in dealing with the community around the school, the profession itself, and in building connections between the profession and potential allies in the policy making arena. And it’s for the rest of us too, because we all find ourselves in situations where our communication has the potential to create and initiate positive outcomes, if we go about it in a healthy way, or perpetuate and even aggravate a problem if we don’t.
The workshop is organized around ten words.
Feel free to leave a comment in which you riff on (not rip off) these words, or question them, or offer your insights and guesses as to what they mean and how they apply to the topic of Healthy Communication.