Sharon Ufberg, DC shares her New Year’s resolutions for her practice.

by Sharon Ufberg, DC

With the start of every New Year there comes an opportunity to renew our commitments and elevate our consciousness. My 2008 New Year’s resolution for my integrative practice is two-fold. First, I want to reaffirm my commitment to be present and open my heart fully to each patient. This openness offers me the opportunity to actively listen to my patient, understand their condition and better address their needs – beyond the obvious symptomology. There is such a deep connection that develops when we, as practitioners, allow ourselves personal time with the patient.

Recently, I was taking the history of a new patient and as she described her long list of sub acute symptoms including headaches, sore jaw, neck stiffness, and mid back tightness, she also mentioned that she felt very isolated and alone. She was newly single, had just moved to the area and changed jobs. At the end of her treatment I turned to her and offered her a big hug. She held onto me and at that moment I knew that I had recognized and responded to what she truly needed. The smile on her face after we hugged was the confirmation I needed to verbalize my satisfaction with her first visit to my office. I asked her to remind me on her next visit if I were to forget that “the hug” was part of our work in her healing. 

The second part of my 2008 resolution is to renew my awareness of the numerous entry points each patient has to their healing. I try to offer many of these places of entry by creating a setting in my office that acts as part of the treatment itself. Whether it is a beautiful piece of art, comforting music or aroma candles, the space one creates for the treatment sets a tone for the entire healing experience. It is very often that a patient will make positive comments on the smell of the candle or the art in the room; it is at this moment, using their senses, that they have opened up another channel to their healing process. Accessing these entry points also stimulates conversation, as the sensory input evokes in patients memories associated with a particular tune or scent.

The subsequent sharing of stories between the patient and practitioner provides an incredible source for understanding and connection. One patient began telling me about how the scent of the candle reminded her of the tea her grandmother had always kept on her bedside table. It opened up a flood of emotion about how much she missed her grandmother and how this loss was so painful that she had suppressed her joyful memories too. The scent of the candle and a private moment to share her thoughts allowed this patient to have some new insight and to let go of some pain. I am sure that was the most effective and healing part of my treatment that day. 

Both of these resolutions are practices that are intended to enhance the healing opportunities for my patients, but also truly enrich my own personal experience as the integrative practioner. It is this synergy – a shared healing and fulfilling experience among both patient and practitioner – that makes the work we do make sense. 

…….next month; the wisdom of others…. How do we effectively share this with our patients?…….

Read more articles by this author: The Journey to an Integrative PracticeDay One at the Integrative Center