Losing Your Objectivity


Physical ailments and their symptoms cause an individual to become subjective. Taking care of people who are focusing on their symptoms can cause us to lose our objectivity. In doing that we ultimately lose the opportunity to give those people, on a lifetime basis, the greatest service we could perform and ultimately we can lose our vision, purpose and principle.

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This article has 12 comments

  1. Matt Garofolo, DC 12/12/2011, 7:04 pm:

    Long time reader, first time ‘poster’…I’ve fallen into this contradiction many times. Patient comes in, “Doc, it hurts”; I’m thinking in my head…”adaptive stress state”, “just a sign of poor cellular health”, “just need to unleash innate and let the body unwind itself, reaching a newer and higher level of function” = “no need for symptoms”.

    Yet, I say “Gosh John, we’ve helped many folks with problems just like yours. Sit on down right here and let’s see if we can’t find the underlying cause of your problem. Does this hurt? See! You’ve got yourself a bad L5 John and that’s what’s causing that pain down your leg. You see the nerve…..blah blah blah”.

    It’s true isn’t it? I’m not being dishonest, am I? Is that scenario, by definition, allopathic or mechanistic?

    I’ve never really had the courage, I guess, to use the stuff I learned from various coaches…”John, your problem is a lack of life energy in your body because you are in an adaptive stress state due to your crappy lifestyle. Now I don’t treat pain, that’s medicine, but as your body get’s healthier then the pain should subside…but I can’t guarantee that”.

    I guess if I was a patient in that situation I’d be asking inside of my head….”So does that mean this guy has no idea what my problem is or if he can help me…he doesn’t treat pain only imbalance? Life Energy? Maybe the internet was right about Chiro’s….”.

    Anyway…just things that roll around in my head as I try to be a Vitalist in a Mechanistic culture. I’d love to hear solutions!!

  2. Steven Waggoner 12/13/2011, 4:37 pm:

    I agree and it’s very easy to fall into the trap of entertaining their list of complaints. I have to make a conscious effort on every visit to stay firm in the principle.

  3. Nathan Nix 12/14/2011, 1:46 am:

    Hi Joe,
    I love your blog! I am looking forward to participating and learning .Your post on losing our objectivity made me think : PM’s can have goals & ambitions(therapeutic) different than our non-therapeutic objective as long as there is understanding on both sides-what do you think?

    • JStraussDC 12/14/2011, 8:12 pm:

      Thanks for the kind comments Nathan. A number of years ago, I wrote a Pivot article entitled (I think ) Goals and Objectives. I believe it may have some insight to this question. However, I cannot locate it in a search of COTB posts. I used the NBA Champion Phila. 76ers as an example. If anyone has access to it or knows where it is located (what Pivot issue of 26 years worth), please let me know. To answer your question, I think it is important that they understand your objective, what that entails andwhat it does not include and agree to that. They need to know that you will not compromise or set aside your objective to meet any other objective or ambition or goal. After that, their “ambitions”may and probably will differ with yours… and that’s okay (providing I am using ambition as I think you are using it).

  4. Dan Sevier 12/14/2011, 2:24 pm:

    Somebody told me once (or twice, or thrice . . . )”Acknowledge the symptom (subjective), find the painful spots (patient knows you’re making progress), address the subluxations (objective) and constantly explain what you’re doing with fifth grade vocabulary.” Not saying it’s easy, but it’s a helpful framework.

    • JStraussDC 12/14/2011, 8:46 pm:

      Funny you should mention that advice Dan. You said you were told a number of times. Perhaps if we repeated to our people that often what our objective is, and why, we would not have the problem of people focusing on their symptoms. But if we address, talk about, elicit symptoms, we are giving a mixed message and that will never create understanding. Check out the post Repetition. https://chiropracticoutsidethebox.com/2011/01/01/repetition/ ‎ It may give some new thoughts.

  5. Bob Vano, D.C. 12/14/2011, 6:54 pm:

    How about just not responding to what they say. If you oriented them in their first visit to what you do and what you do not do, just check and adjust. THEN, if they stick around and someday ask you why you don’t respond to their symptom comments, re-orient them and give them a second chance.

    Sometimes you just have to check them and tell them they are not subluxated that day and you want to check them again the next day. This is a great way to say loud and clear that symptoms don’t mean you are subluxated.

  6. Tom 12/14/2011, 8:38 pm:

    Joe is this what you were looking for?

    Revisiting Our Objective

    Posted by JStraussDC on January 1, 2004 at 5:57 pm

    I believe it is helpful to re-examine our objective from time to time to reaffirm why we have an objective and to determine whether it is still valid. The straight chiropractic movement originally decided to define chiropractic by its objective because first, almost every profession does it and second, because there were so many different approaches and definitions (e.g., state, national, B.J.’s, Stephenson’s) that it was all very confusing. If we had one objective, not only would it more clearly define us but we could also evaluate procedures and techniques as to whether they helped us meet our objective or not, hence whether they were straight chiropractic or not.

    It was originally determined that our objective was to correct vertebral subluxation. While that was a limiting objective (in the sense that it prevented the “mixing” of modalities), it was realized that much of the practice of correcting vertebral subluxations was done as a therapeutic measure. In other words, chiropractors corrected vertebral subluxations to relieve back pain, treat other symptoms, cure disease, treat disease, prevent disease, straighten spines and for a myriad of other reasons. So our objective began to be clarified. Correcting vertebral subluxations without a stated reason is akin to being subluxation-based. Subluxation-based allows one to add other things to his/her practice. Correcting vertebral subluxation without a stated reason allows every chiropractor to determine for himself or herself why they are doing it. It still leaves a vagueness to what we do. It was suggested that we correct vertebral subluxations because they are a detriment to life. That is good. It has non-therapeutic reasoning behind it. Others suggested that we correct vertebral subluxations to enable the innate intelligence of the body to be more fully expressed. Personally, I happen to like that one the best. It is as specific as you can get. It involves the physical application of chiropractic (correcting subluxations) and it involves and acknowledges the metaphysical component of chiropractic. Innate intelligence is something that is a fundamental aspect of our philosophy. It is totally foreign to medical practice. It sets us apart from everything and everyone else. Physical therapists are correcting vertebral subluxations, as are medical doctors and osteopaths. They may not call it “correcting vertebral subluxations” but a “rose by any other name…” Besides, what if they started calling it a vertebral subluxation, would they then be practicing chiropractic?

    Recently, it has been suggested that we abandon the idea of defining ourselves by our objective and instead define ourselves by a raison dè tre. I would tend to reject that idea based solely upon the fact that it is French and I cannot pronounce it. Those promoting the idea say that our area of interest is the vertebral subluxation and our raison dè tre is correcting them. I think that is a step backward in the progress of straight chiropractic. It may create a wide umbrella under which many chiropractors, doing one thing for many reasons, can gather but it does nothing to clarify what we do. It is like “subluxation-based.” It embraces more people. Perhaps that is what those promoting this idea want to do, embrace more people. I would like to welcome more people into the straight movement but not at the cost of compromising our philosophy. I would like more people who are in agreement with our objective to join us. If we want to adapt a French word to explain our “reason for existence,” that’s fine. But let us realize that our area of interest is the vertebral subluxation and our raison dè tre, our reason for existence, may be their correction, but specifically because they interfere with the expression of the innate intelligence of the body. Why we correct them is as important—if not more important than that we correct them. Without that defining aspect to our reason—we risk becoming a modality, we lose our identity and that which truly makes us separate and distinct and therefore vitally necessary as a profession and as individuals. If we can find a way to make that more clear, more specific, let’s do it. But let’s not go backward and make it less specific. To quote B.J., “Chiropractic is specific or it is nothing.” Whether it is technique philosophy or our objective, the more specific we become the more we become something as a profession. The less specific, the more we become nothing as a profession.v19n2


  7. Nathan Nix 12/15/2011, 4:03 am:

    Yes Joe ‘ambitions’ meaning whatever PM’S desire to occur by keeping their nerve channels open-of course those PMs not focused on the OSCprinciple most likely will drop out if symptoms do or do not go away.

  8. Claude Lessard 12/15/2011, 7:58 pm:

    As OSC, it is we WHO need to let go of “things” because when we set “things” into motion, we have no control over the outcome. Practice members come in to get their spine checked, we LACVS for a full expression of the innate intelligence of the body, they pay us and then we let go of it all. WHAT comes after that, is and outside of our control
    and it is WHAT it is. It’s always about the WHO and not the WHAT!

    As OSC, our first and final loyalty is to the objective of chiropractic or to our own objective. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t really fake it. Nathan said that “… those PM’S not focused on the the OSC principle most likely will drop out if symptoms do or do not go away” and that is true. The Big Picture is apparent when the principles and the objective of chiropractic are central and we are happy to take our place in the corner of the frame.

    Because I am a part of the Big Picture, I DO matter, and substantially so. Because I am ONLY a part of the Big Picture, however, I am rightly situated off to stage right… and happily so. What freedom there is in such truth! WE ARE INHERENTLY IMPORTANT AND INCLUDED, YET NOT BURDENED WITH MANUFACTURING OR SUSTAINING THAT PRIVATE IMPORTANCE. Our dignity, as OSC, is given by the philosophy of chiropractic and we are freed from ourselves!

    • Terri Galant, DC 12/20/2011, 9:35 pm:

      WOW! Great explanation. I need to read that every day before work.
      Thanks, Claude.

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