The Secret to Healing
A young woman, who we’ll call Amy, sits in a cold, bright examination room waiting for her primary care physician, Dr. Smith. Her back pain and weight gain have escalated, and she needs relief. However, the doctor walks in and instantly notices that Amy’s issues aren’t entirely physical. The mood in the room begins to warm and after a few minutes, Amy actually looks at her doctor.
Dr. Smith has seen the signs before: a patient who avoids eye contact, speaks lowly, appears unkempt, complains of aches and pains. She’s even seen patients who bore the visible scars of self-harm. These are the signs that a person is hurting deep inside. They, like Amy, have buried a trauma and have never been able to get past the experience.
Mental health counseling and medication may be in order, but at this point, one human characteristic can tilt the scale of Amy’s life in favor of healing. We are talking about compassion.
By definition the term compassion means to have concern for others. Today’s world moves at warp speed, but making it a point to slow down and pay attention to the people around us, can change lives. If we aren’t paying attention, we will never be in a position to take interest in another person, and it’s those personal connections that give meaning to people’s lives.
Psychology Today writer Amma M. Sappala, Ph.D., says that compassion helps both patients and physicians heal. The experience of being deeply moved by another human being and connecting with that person, can make us come alive. Compassion may very well be the “wonder drug” in health care today.
Therefore, when Dr. Smith really took notice of her patient, she was able to get Amy the help she needed, which wasn’t a prescription for pain medication or diet pills. Compassion is a way to help someone heal from the inside out and in some organizations it’s woven into the culture as a value on which they hire staff. For instance, Lakeview Center has five Values: Ownership, Integrity, Compassion, Excellence and Service.
Compassion is the secret to healing along our life journeys.