TCM: Practicing the Medicine; In Two's
I think one of the reasons that one gets better at practicing Chinese medicine over time is two-fold.
Firstly, and obviously, with more and more experience and seeing similar cases over a long period of time, if one is conscious of how one approaches a disease, I believe a practitioner can succeed at getting ahold of how to treat it.
Secondly, I think one of the reasons a practitioner excels at treating conditions over time is because they've had to deal with their own problems as they've aged. When I see a patient, and the older I get, there is a good chance I have experienced what they are suffering with and I will have used acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat it - likely alongside naturopathic medicine, or even allopathic.
For every patient I see, I try very hard to put myself in their shoes and ask, "If I had their discomfort, how would I treat it?" Because of this approach I am likely to start off with a gentle and truly inquisitive nature - really trying to get to the heart of it all - a 'beginner's mind' - appreciate of the wonder while still being cautious.
I think about patients who don't respond successfully to treatment from two different viewpoints.
Firstly, I look at myself: have I done something wrong? Can I make a better diagnosis or treatment plan? Did I misunderstand the patient and the language they used / Did the patient incorrectly lead me to a false conclusion (I still consider this my fault)?
Only after careful consideration of the fact that I may have made an error of judgement, I then secondly move onto the patient: Does the patient have something structurally wrong/broken/damaged that may either take more time or need another type of intervention? Is the patient doing something between appointments to thwart my efforts (knowingly or unknowlingly)? Does the patient not want to get better?