David Kopacz, author of the book, Re-humanizing Medicine: A Holistic Framework for Transforming Your Self, Your Practice, and the Culture of Medicine, defines a holistic approach to healthcare means taking into account all human dimensions that influence health and illness.
These include not just the physical, but also the emotional, relational, mental, creative and spiritual dimensions of the person.
“To be holistic is the opposite of being reductionist. In addition to focussing on the physical body, we also are heartcentred, bringing caring and compassion to our work,” Dr Kopacz says.
Healthcare is at a crossroads, and no one has been more affected than the physician.
Traditionally physicians, trained as technicians, view patients through a narrow reductionist lens that often excludes compassion, empathy, and authentic connection – resulting in a “dehumanizing process.” If medical science gets elevated as dogma and realized as truth, then physicians practice machine medicine, closing their minds to other possibilities. Based on this limited perspective from their training, physicians are not inclined to seek developmental opportunities when it comes to personal and leadership growth. Consequently, they find themselves in a bind – not knowing what they do not know.
Let’s be clear: I don’t work in medicine. However, the wonderful people who do work in conventional healthcare seem to have their work cut out when it comes to balancing the needs of real people with economic imperatives and the reductionist approach of biomedicine. Medical doctor David R Kopacz has practised in the US and New Zealand and, in this considered, well-argued book, he argues there’s an urgent need to establish a holistic framework for medicine, one in which physicians approach patients as whole people not just the sum of their physical complaints. Written for doctors and doctors-in-training, Re-humanizing Medicine assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the current system, describes the holistic medicine paradigm and its benefits, outlines how clinicians can develop a deeper sense of their own humanity so they can appreciate that of others and better care for themselves, and gives advice on how to create a holistic clinic and re-humanise your own practice. An excellent guide.
Psychiatrist David Kopacz works at the Veterans Affairs primary care clinic in Seattle and is an acting assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington. His new book, “Re-humanizing Medicine" (Ayni Books, 2014), suggests that medical providers often lack the capacity to engage with patients beyond a problem-solving level, which ignores other factors vital to health. He discussed the book and his ideas with HSNewsBeat writer Brian Donohue.
Re-humanizing Medicine. A Holistic Framework for Transforming Your Self, Your Practice, and the Culture of Medicine by David R. Kopacz
Physicians and professionals train extensively to relieve suffering. Yet the systems they train and practice in create suffering for both themselves and their clients through the neglect of basic human needs. True healthcare reform requires addressing dehumanization in medicine by caring for the whole person. Re-humanizing Medicine provides a holistic framework to support human connection and the expression of full human being of doctors, professionals and patients.
Dr. David Kopacz begins by distinguishing between holistic, integrative, and complementary medicine. He likes the term “contemporary medicine” to describe medicine at the current time. True healthcare reform requires addressing dehumanization in medicine by caring for the whole person of the professional and the patient. His book, Re-humanizing Medicine provides a holistic framework to support human connection and the expression of full human being of doctors, professionals and patients.
Tune it to learn how spirituality, intuition, and listening have an impact upon healing and the doctor/patient relationship.
“Decision-making is something that you can do with either your limited mind and ego, or by letting the choices percolate through your body, emotions, mind, heart, creative self-expression, intuition, spirituality, as well as through the dimensions of context and time – until a decision becomes clear with input from your total Self. Decisions made this way may ‘freak out’ your ego, but they can be truly transformative.”
That advice comes from a new book by Dr. David Kopacz, Re-humanizing Medicine: A Holistic Framework for Transforming Your Self, Your Practice, and the Culture of Medicine. This is a book for people who are willing to change at a personal level in order to be better doctors and clinicians. Download this PDF to read the Table of Contents, Foreword and Introduction.
While Kopacz wrote this book mainly for medical professionals, we found it to be full of great insight and practices for anyone wishing to stay true to themselves in challenging times – in life and work. In that spirit, here is an excerpt – an exercise in “whole-self decision making."
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