A friend or mine recently advised me that she was going to be seeing a new medical specialist.  Since I knew the physician’s reputation for both diagnostic skill and “efficiency,” I encouraged her to mark down her questions and concerns and reasons for seeing him, because he may not be spending a lot of time with her.  She replied that she was prepared because, “My primary doctor gave me a list of all the things that are wrong with me.”

Although she has some true medical issues, I also knew that my friend is a very competent woman who leads an active life and doesn’t let her ailments limit her very much – so I asked her, “Did your doctor also give you a list of all the things that are right with you?”

While she treated it as a joke, I considered it to be a serious question.  When we interact with a professional – whether it be a physician, therapist, coach, lawyer, accountant, or any other professional – who sees us as a problem to be solved rather than a human being who has strengths as well as flaws, that becomes part of the process of how we see ourselves.  A visit to a professional whose job is to help you overcome challenges should be an uplifting experience even as “the things that are wrong with you” are being addressed.

For those of use who are in the helping professional position, it is incumbent upon us to make certain that a patient/client leaves our office with a sense of the things that are “right” about him or her, as well as understanding what things need to improve.  It also behooves the patient/client to seek such information during their visits with us.  While not overlooking the need to have problems identified, addressed, and treated, the mindset that leads to searching for things that are going right will inevitably create better patients and better doctors.

Ron Kaiser, Ph.D. Psychologist, Educator, Author, Podcaster

Ron Kaiser, Ph.D., is a positive health psychologist, coach, author, podcaster, educator, consultant, and speaker. He has been in practice for more than five decades, including 25 years as Director of Psychology at the world-famous Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University. As an innovative thought leader in the field, he has developed the concepts of THE MENTAL HEALTH GYM, GOAL-ACHIEVING PSYCHOTHERAPY (GAP), THE TYPE P PERSONALITY, and REJUVENAGING®.

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