I was reminded of this a few days ago when I ran a seminar with Guy Caplan. He is Metal and I am Fire, so inevitably we see life through two very different filters. This was emphasized for me when both of us were interacting with a very lively Fire patient. As usual, whenever I am in the presence of Fire in another person I relax because I can feel that I am on familiar ground. So this particular patient, though very much out of control Fire, did not prove a problem for me to treat. On the contrary, I felt I knew exactly how she needed to be treated, which was in a robust, quite challenging way, my Fire, as it were, blazing away to control her overheated Fire. Guy, on the other hand, told me that he found her exaggerated gaiety uncomfortable to deal with, and would have taken longer to work out how to react to it and contain it. We can interpret this as hot Fire threatening to melt Metal, whilst hot Fire just makes me feel, not perhaps always completely comfortable to be with, but certainly not difficult to deal with.
This is why as practitioners we should do all that we can to find out what our particular element is, recognize its qualities, make allowances for its weaknesses, and take all these factors into account when dealing with our patients. This is not an easy task, because we all have a tendency to think that when we have an uneasy relationship with our patient the fault lies in them not in us. It is good to remind ourselves at intervals that this is not so. Often it is the balance of the elements within us, particularly that of our guardian element, which is shaping our relationship to our patient, and perhaps distorting it in some way which we fail to recognize.