Friday, July 27, 2012

Listen to the Patient? Are You Kidding?

I read a lot of articles and newsletters about the new Obamacare laws and regulations because I have operated a Clinical Counseling agency for the past 23 years. For just over 7 years we had an in-patient unit for teens and one for adults.

I operated the in-patient units a lot like I ran the Discipleship Ministry at College Hill Church. Our goal was to help the residents get healed from their broken spirits and souls and grow into maturity as Christians and as persons.

We offered the regular Psychological and Medical interventions and expertise that any good hospital offers but we did more because we knew the power of God's word, His love and His healing gifts. We also knew the power of a caring community who would surround the residents and encourage them while they were residents and after they left the Life Way unit.

We listened carefully to the residents and to their family members and support supporters. We invited all of them to come to family times and learn how to change their dysfunctional patterns and stinkling thinking. We encouraged Pastors, neighbors and family members to be full partners with the Psychiatrists and Counselors anbd Nurses because we knew the power of a caring community.

In I CO 13:13 St. Paul says, "These three remain; faith, hope and love but the greatest is love". In Medicine there has been a lot of research over the apst few decades on the power of a placebo. In Christian terms it is called "Faith". Drug companies are now finding it almost impossible to find a drug to fight depression that is more effective than the placebo of taking a sugar pill. If a trusted Doctor gives a depressed patient a pill he says will reduce depression, it will likely work even if it has no active ingredient.

Faith is powerful medicine, so in addition to giving residents some antidepresdsant medeicines with an active ingredient, we also had a loving, praying, hopeful community standing with them in their struggle. This combines faith in the Doctors with faith in the medicine with faith in God.

Above all, we loved the residents and their support system and treated them with understanding and respect. (Read my book, Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty  for examples and research.) Our approach was so powerful and so effective that several non-Christian Psychiatrists asked to place their patients into the Life Way Units. That is a high compliment.

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