I always say that treatment can only be successful when both patient and practitioner are equally involved, 50% the patient and 50% the practitioner. It is therefore good to remember that we can never help a patient who is reluctant to receive treatment. As soon as we sense this, we need to stop what we are doing and address the issue. Dealing with a patient who openly doubts the effectiveness of our treatment is always disturbing for any practitioner, nor can we do good work if we are not sure what is going on in the practice room.
One of the tips I learnt many years ago from JR Worsley, which I have followed successfully ever since in all cases where my relationship to my patient is under some strain, is always to be honest with the patient, and tell them as soon as I sense that there is a problem. You need to be brave enough to ask them whether they, too, feel that this is so. I always preface what I say with the words, “I feel that ….” Saying this removes any risk of the patient feeling that we are blaming them for what is not right, and gives them the courage to be open with us. I am then often surprised by my patients’ answers, which may be quite different from what I have imagined. This frankness between us goes a long way to solve some of the tricky patient/practitioner issues which complicate our work.
So this is the advice I am going to give Caline, with the hope that it will help restore a good relationship with her patient. I hope, too, that this will clear up some of her own doubts about what she is doing.