Caring and Confronting


For some reason, confrontational people are often perceived as uncaring and even cruel.  Society has somehow come to the conclusion that to challenge people or to confront their attitude, thinking or behavior is at best unkind.  Perhaps that is a function of a society that is more and more rejecting absolutes.  If there are no absolutes, then nothing is wrong, everything is right and to confront thinking, actions or values is worthless.  Straight chiropractic has appeared to be antagonistic and at times downright belligerent because it is constantly confronting the rationale for different approaches to the practice of chiropractic.  I personally have received a considerable amount of criticism because the Pivot Review often tends to be confrontational.  It is that way because I love chiropractic and I love chiropractors.  I want to challenge them to be the best that they can and to base their actions on deductive thought.  I am really not as concerned about a chiropractor’s manner of practice as I am that there is logical thinking behind it.  For if you do not practice based upon an objective that has been critically analyzed, you will practice for any reason (e.g., ego or money).  Once your professional life is at an end, you will likely feel like a failure because pride of being a real doctor or making great sums of money is not an adequate reward in life. 

          Actually, I believe the more you care for someone or something the more confrontational you will be.  I do not confront my daughter’s friends for inappropriate actions but I would surely confront her.  Recently, I was at a T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant with my wife.  A young man about my daughter’s age came to our table to wait on us.  He said, “What can I get you guys today?”  Now, I realize the young people of today have their own language, but good manners are not a generational thing.  I do not like being referred to as a “guy” and I most definitely do not think it is an appropriate address for a lady, but I did not say anything.  (On the way out, another young man said, “You guys have a nice day!”)  I would confront my daughter if I knew she referred to an adult couple as “guys.”  I have received considerable criticism and even some ostracism for confronting Sherman College on some of its actions and positions.  I have only done that because of my love for Sherman and the people associated with it.  I am not critical of Western States Chiropractic College, for example.  Their objective is not the same as mine.  We all need to be confronted in our thinking and our actions from time to time, when appropriate.

          One area that I constantly need to be confronted in is my own failure to confront my patients.  There are dozens of areas in which we fail to confront our patients.  There are small, seemingly insignificant areas, such as allowing the patients to get away with using incorrect terminology.  We may ignore an elderly woman who refers to our adjustments as treatments, because we figure she is too old to change or because we do not want to hurt her feelings.  When people begin to discuss their symptoms, we may ignore them or make some short comment rather than confront them with why they feel they need to share their symptoms with us.  Perhaps the most important area is failing to confront patients who are not regular with their chiropractic care.  This confrontation sometimes may make you feel really uncomfortable, but is absolutely necessary.

          This is what confronting patients is all about.  It should not be a verbal chastisement for their failure to come in regularly but a dialogue.  You have to develop a way to get them to respond to what it is that may be keeping them from care.  Confronting them makes them think, “What has kept me from care?”  They need to verbalize to you that sitting at home watching television is more important than having the life turned on in their bodies.  They need to be “forced” to explain why getting adjusted was not only NOT the most important thing they could do but it was way, way down on the list.  Once people are confronted, they must verbalize their excuse and more often than not, most excuses when verbalized, sound as silly and lame to the patient as they do to the chiropractor.  When you’re scolded, your natural reaction is to defend yourself.  When you’re confronted, you are forced to explain yourself. v13n3

          “Mr. Jones what has kept you from getting in here every week to have your spine checked for subluxations as I had explained to you on your first visit?”  That question requires some sort of response rather than just hanging the head, shuffling the feet and saying, “Sorrrrry . . .”   We must look for ways to confront people, for their benefit in a LOVING BUT FIRM manner.  Try it and see what happens. v13n3

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This article has 1 comment

  1. Tom 09/13/2013, 11:40 pm:

    Caring and Confronting

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