Chiropractic Destiny

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One major difficulty with chiropractic reaching its place in society is our desire to “fit in.”  Almost since our profession’s inception, we have been trying to gain acceptance.  The earliest pushes in licensing laws were an attempt to get the government to accept us.  We have been and are still looking for acceptance by the insurance companies, by the HMO’s and generally speaking by the public as a whole.  We have recognized that “we are different” to some degree, but have not capitalized on that difference and in fact, have played it down until recently when being an “alternative health care” became fashionable.  “Is medicine acceptable? We will be that.”  “Is wholistic health care acceptable?  We will be that.”  “Back doctors?  We can do that.”  “Is anti-medicine in vogue?  We can do that.”   It seems we will do whatever it takes for acceptance.

          Not only do we want acceptance as a profession, we want it as individuals.  We are upset if someone refers to us as “Mister” rather than “Doctor.”  We want social acceptance, so we join the country club, buy big cars and do everything necessary to establish a socially acceptable position.  This desire for acceptance and willingness to do anything to gain it has made us a schizophrenic profession.  We attack medicine as being poorly practiced and then attempt to mimic its most basic and most vulnerable practice, diagnosis.  We talk about DIS-EASE among ourselves but talk about disease to the world because we think that that is where the world is.  In philosophy meetings, we discuss the body’s wonderful innate intelligence and then educatedly tell the patients what they should eat and what exercises to do because we fear they will not accept us as their “primary doctor” if we simply say, “That is not our objective.”

          Perhaps we need an entire rethinking of our mental attitude.  We need to acknowledge that we do not fit in, and most important, that that is not necessarily bad.  We need to recognize and capitalize on our difference.  Our very practice is different.  We are not a science, although what we do is based upon certain scientific principles.  We are not a philosophy, although we have a philosophy (philosophies do not put their hands on people).  We are not a religion.  Chiropractic is like nothing else in the world and it cannot be compared to anything else in the world.  Our thinking flies in the face of accepted, outside-in thought, especially that of the health-care delivery system.  So what?  If we look around at this world, its standards, ideas and philosophies it might not be such a bad thing that we do not “fit in.”  So let’s accept the fact that everybody is not going to accept us.  Many already do not and many will never accept us no matter what we try to do to gain their acceptance.  So what?  Some people will not only  not accept us, they will scorn us, but then that has been a part of our history.  Again, so what?

          If we cannot gain universal acceptance, perhaps we need a whole new mindset.  We need to think individually rather than globally.  There are quite a few people out there who are open to our message.  We need to direct our efforts not to the world but to those who are receptive to it.  We cannot be “all things to all men.”  We need to establish our objective and clearly communicate it to the person we want to reach.  We need to determine if that objective is a valuable one and if it will support us as a profession.  Then we need to go about reaching that segment of society receptive to our objective and to do it as effectively as possible.  If our objective is a worthy one, we can identify our “market” and we can clearly explain what we have to offer.  Then chiropractic can truly find its place in society.v13n4

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