I smirk and occasionally roll my eyes when I meet the therapist who informs me that they “treat the whole patient”. This implies that they have an special understanding or insight as to of how ‘the whole patient “works.”‘ Such a understanding, of course, is not available to them, but they have convinced themselves otherwise.
. . . .
Most therapists have 30-60 minutes at a patient’s initial evaluation to obtain knowledge of a limited number of variables that may impact a patient’s pain experience; they may have an adequate understanding of even fewer. Over the weeks that might follow, the therapist will often learn more about the patient; sometimes that knowledge helps them understand the patient more, sometimes less. It is with that limited knowledge and understanding that the therapist is to develop a plan of care to shepherd their patient toward a positive outcome.
If we knew all the laws of Nature, we should need only one fact, or the description of one actual phenomenon, to infer all the particular results at that point…
Patients with chronic pain are nomadic people, moving from one professional with a seemingly plausible explanation for their symptoms – each with their own approach to treatment – to another and another.
Each clinician has a different formula or calculation that they make when they are completing as assessment; each clinician’s respective calculations are developed from a foundation of the literature and research that is (in an of itself) lacking. Unfortunately, a large percentage of clinicians who treat patients with chronic pain symptoms have no familiarity or understanding of that literature.
…Now we know only a few laws, and our result is vitiated, not, of course, by any confusion or irregularity in Nature, but by our ignorance of essential elements in the calculation. Our notions of law and harmony are commonly confined to those instances which we detect; but the harmony which results from a far greater number of seemingly conflicting, but really concurring, laws, which we have not detected, is still more wonderful. The particular laws are as our points of view, as, to the traveller, a mountain outline varies with every step, and it has an infinite number of profiles, though absolutely but one form. Even when cleft or bored through it is not comprehended in its entireness.
*quoted passages from Walden