One of the most treasured and an oft-quoted interpretation of the Hippocratic Oath is “first do no harm.” No other phrase speaks as clearly to the primary intent of physicians. No matter what the circumstance, it is important that physicians and those committed to providing care to others be well-intentioned, and to never intend or deliberately act to cause harm to those who are in their care.
One day when counseling a friend about his relationship, I used one of the many medical “pearls of wisdom” that we physicians use to heal bodies, and I applied it to his attempts to work out his relationship. It was then that I realized that many of these medical pearls serve as excellent words of wisdom to promote healthier interpersonal relationships.
Here at PT, I’ve previously shared the FDNH pearls Men Feel Pain, Too and Never Underestimate How Much Someone Hurts. From my just released E-book, I now share edited versions of a few more of these quick-read relationship nuggets, this time briefly touching on giving yourself permission to seek counseling when needed.
Medical research espouses the healing effects of love, human touch and companionship; these pearls can serve as a prescription to help promote, preserve and protect the loving relationships you hold most dear.
The Sooner the Diagnosis, the Easier To Treat
The earlier a patient presents with a complaint, the sooner the diagnosis can be made and treatment begun.
If you notice unhealthy changes in your interpersonal relationships, don’t let things fester. The sooner you deal with it, the better. Pretending a problem isn’t there doesn’t help. Internalizing things does not treat the problem. The problem will still be there, and it needs to be addressed.
Work on it sooner rather than later. If you do, the treatment will be shorter, easier, less invasive, and less painful; and many times, you can solve the problems yourselves. But…
When in Over Your Head, Call for Help
In surgery, of course it is crucial to not let the patient die. At times a surgical case may prove to be more challenging than anticipated, and a surgeon may get into difficulty. For sure if a surgeon doesn't know what he or she is doing, or it’s too much for them to handle, they need to get some help…quick!
If personal issues are so difficult that you and your honey cannot work them out between you, call for help. It's okay. Seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness, it's one of strength and courage. Engage or utilize a family counselor, your pastor, a psychologist or other objective mediator who can help direct you to understanding and a healthy solution.
Don’t let pride or egos stand in your way; it makes for empty beds and broken relationships.
An Assistant who can’t See the Problem can Rarely Help with the Solution
During a surgical procedure, it’s important for surgical assistants to be able to have a clear view of the area being operated on before they place a stitch, tie a suture, suction fluids, or cauterize tissue.
Similarly, whoever is helping you resolve the sickness in your relationship needs to be able to clearly see and understand what they’re working on. If one party is not clear or sure where to direct their attention, they won’t be able to truly assist in the remedy.
If you go to counseling, be completely open and honest. No one can help you if they don’t know the facts.
Keep the Field Sterile
When operating, it is important to keep the area in which I’m operating--the "operative field"--clean—sterile.
As you work on your relationship ills, don’t bring in contaminants—other people such as busy-bodies, even family members who don’t mean you any good, who may be jealous, who don’t really know the facts or can’t really help you. 'Contaminants' can actually hurt the reparative, healing process.
See the full collection of these relationship pearls in a new E-Book: First Do No Harm: How to Heal Your Relationships Using the Wisdom of Professional Caregivers.
Living Well, Despite Catchin' Hell, a book about health, sex and happiness, with a foreword by Pauletta Washington, musician and wife of Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington; and endorsed by psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere, HBCUs and others. The book includes current comparative data for Black, White, Hispanic, Asian and Native American women. The book also addresses the effects of negative stereotypes. (print and eBook).
Medical Bloopers! Amusing & Amazing Stories of Health Care Workers (foreword by Dr. Neil Shulman, author of Doc Hollywood). (A book of medical humor, now as an eBook)