Increasing Functionality by Integrating CAM into Medical NLPadmin
For decades, orthodox health care and ‘complementary’ medicine have largely treated each other with suspicion and disdain. And yet, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people worldwide can attest to the success of each approach.
Many critics of CAM claim it puts patients at risk if they don’t seek ‘proper’ treatment. However, many patients report turning to alternative methods as a last, not a first, resort when they have failed to receive relief from more orthodox approaches.
Personalised care, concerned practitioners, a greater emphasis on health and wellbeing rather than deficit and disease, are among the many reasons given for the shift. Furthermore, allopathic medicine’s growing reliance on surgery and drugs whose ethics and efficacy are under growing scrutiny increases many patients’ disquiet.
Another significant reason for seeking consultation with a complementary therapist is Western medicine’s comparatively poor record in treating the complex, chronic, multi-factorial problems now threatening to overwhelm physicians in both primary and secondary care. Between 25 and 50 percent of the problems for which patients now seek help have no evident pathological cause. [i]
On the other hand, despite the passion and commitment of its supporters, much CAM suffers greatly from a lack of acceptable evidence, a cohesive approach and the ability to demonstrate improved clinical outcomes. However, thousands of patients attest to the effectiveness of a number of its disparate approaches.
One of the missions of The Society of Medical NLPTM and its counterpart Strategic Health Coaching is to bridge the gap between the two approaches. The field was developed as a means of organising the many disparate approaches, to review and refine what worked and to provide a clinically proven format that could be introduced seamlessly into other healthcare systems, regardless of their disciplines and domains.
An initial informal audit of more than 600 particularly effective physicians and patients who showed unusual ability to recover from sometimes life-threatening conditions, revealed a single, surprising, underlying factor that positively influenced outcomes.
This, and numerous subsequent studies, as well as a growing body of clinical experience, showed clearly that communication reaches beyond simply transmitting information from one person to the next. How people communicate—verbally and nonverbally, consciously and unconsciously—can impact the listener’s physical and psychological health and well-being, and directly affect the clinical outcome for better or worse.[ii], [iii], [iv]
If our goal is to restore functionality to as many patients and clients as possible, then we cannot ignore these facts. And both allopathic and alternative medical practitioners need to recognise that a truly integrated approach is not only possible, but absolutely necessary.
- Garner Thomson
[i]Olde Hartman TC, Lucassen PL, van de Lisdonk EH et al (2004) Chronic functional somatic symptoms: a single syndrome? British Journal of General Practice 54:922-7
[ii]Thomas KB (1987) General practice consultations: is there any point in being positive? British Medical Journal 294: 1200–2.
[iii]Benedetti F, Amanzio M, Vighetti S, Asteggiano G (2006) The bio-chemical and neuroendocrine bases of the hyperalgesic nocebo effect. Journal of Neuroscience 26: 12014–22.
[iv]Krupnick JL et al (1996). The role of the therapeutic alliance in psychotherapy pharmacotherapy outcome: findings in the National Institute of Mental Health Treatment of Depression Col- laborative Research Project. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 64: 532–9.
[v]Kirsch I, Saperstein G (1998) Listening to Prozac but hearing placebo: a meta-analysis of antidepressant medication. Prevention and Treatment (online journal): htpp://content.apa. org/journals/pre/1/1/2
[vi]Dixon M, Sweeney K (2000) The Human Effect in Medicine .Oxfordshire: Radcliffe Medical Press; Horvath AO (1995) The therapeutic relationship. In Session 1, 7–17
[vii]Lambert, Michael J.; Barley, Dean E. The therapeutic relationship and psychotherapy outcome. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, Vol 38(4), Win 2001, 357-361