Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic disease that is treatable, but not curable, manageable, but not always completely controllable, can be a devastating experience. There frequently is an immediate sense of being threatened, not only in terms of one’s very life, but more often in terms of one’s ability to continue living life as one is used to. Read more
Jewish Sacred Aging Podcast #4: Growing Older: A Sacred Journey: A Conversation with Rabbi Dayle Friedman
In the fourth Jewish Sacred Aging podcast, Rabbi Address discusses “Growing Older: A Sacred Journey,” with Rabbi Dayle Friedman, a pioneer in forging a Jewish spiritual response to the challenges and blessings of later life. Rabbi Friedman is the moderator of the web resource GrowingOlder.co (the “.co” domain is correct — not the usual “.com.”)
Jewish Sacred Aging Podcast #3: Navigating the Doctor-Patient Relationship, a conversation with Dr. Donald Friedman
In the third Jewish Sacred Aging podcast, Rabbi Address has a conversation with JSA contributor Dr. Donald Friedman about his journey from medical practitioner to the intersection of spirituality and health that he discusses in his JSA blog posts.
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A recent issue of Newsweek (April 23&30, 2012) had “The End of the Doctor-Patient Relationship” boldly displayed above the magazine’s logo. Inside, the featured article was actually entitled, “The Doctor Will See You – If You’re Quick.” (p.46)
What a striking difference from the usual expression that has prevailed over the years in medical offices – “The Doctor will see you NOW.” Read more
Empathy is a frequently misunderstood term that refers to one’s ability to understand and identify with another person’s emotional experiences and feelings. The true empathic individual is aware and accepting of the other person’s thoughts, reactions, and feelings in a non-judgmental way. In the ideal situation empathy essentially allows one to walk in the other person’s shoes and see what that’s like.
There is a saying about listening that eloquently summarizes the nature of the process. The source of the words is unknown, but the message is universal – “God gave us two ears, but only one mouth. Some people say that’s because God wanted us to spend twice as much time listening as talking. Others claim it’s because God knew listening was twice as hard as talking.” And so it goes that listening is an important skill, but it can be so hard to do it well and so challenging to make it meaningful.
The concept of the physician as a wounded healer and how it can positively affect the practice of medicine has been around for a long time. In Greek mythology. Chiron was the first wounded healer. He was accidentally wounded by an arrow from Heracles’s bow. He didn’t die, but suffered terrible pain for the rest of his life, as the wound never totally healed.
Chiron searched for his own cure and in the process learned about suffering and healing. He taught others, particularly Esculapius, one of the founding fathers of Western medicine, about the healing arts and through his teaching found comfort from his pain. It was because of his deep wound that Chiron became known as a great healer in ancient Greece. Well known historical figures have commented on this image of the wounded healer over the years. Plato said that the most skillful physicians rather than being models of good health are those who have suffered from all sorts of illnesses. Thomas Jefferson asked, “Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself?” Carl Jung, the famous psychotherapist, said “The doctor is effective only when he himself is affected. Only the wounded physician heals.” Jung also believed that a malady of the soul was the best possible form of training for a healer.