Saturday, January 2, 2016

Some problems of treating a patient of our own element

Because my own guardian element is Fire, I can often be quicker at diagnosing that this is another person’s element than happens with other elements, but this also gives me certain problems that these other elements don’t cause me.  We say that familiarity breeds contempt, but in five element terms it also breeds some confusion.  What I experience as being characteristic of the Fire element can all too easily colour how I perceive those who are similarly Fire in ways which may be particular to me but not to them.  I may assume too close a fit between them and me, and therefore think that they will react as I do.  In other words, I may lose some of the necessary objectivity which we need to maintain if we are to help our patients.  By identifying too closely with a patient I believe is Fire, I may overlook our clear differences, differences which are always there since we are all unique manifestations of whatever element is ours. 

I may even misinterpret signs my patient’s element is imprinting on them in favour of too close an identification with what I may only be assuming is Fire.  For that is indeed one of the pitfalls confronting all five element acupuncturists, which is that we assume too casually and too quickly that there is a relationship to one element for reasons of our own, and not because our patient is displaying this element’s signature.  In my case, I relax whenever I think I am in the presence of Fire, for this is my familiar resting-place.  How comfortable it is to sink back into the well-known atmosphere surrounding the Fire element, and how seductive to me it can be rather too rapidly to assume that a warm smile or a sudden laugh is pointing to Fire, rather than being only a momentary Fire-like illumination laid upon the foundation of another element.  After all, everybody of whatever element likes to smile and laugh, and maybe the smiles and laughter I see upon them are provoked by my own Fire-like approach to them.  In other words, my Fire may be drawing out their Fire, whilst their dominant element may lie elsewhere.


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