Under the circumstances, we had given them all we could: our time, our presence, our attention. We visited them in their home. We listened to their stories. We stood in witness. We carry them in memory.
In a brief intersection of radically different lives, we acknowledged one another’s frail humanity. That was our therapy, a word from the Greek, therapon, “one who attends.” As medical professionals, we’d come wanting to do so much more.
It’s precisely then that presence is needed: a practice to banish distraction, dial down emotion, return attention to the exchange happening right now, and note my responses—mental and physical. That’s when I live into the role of attending physician. . . Without practices of attentive presence, the patient’s real concerns will be overlooked, important information remain hidden, diagnoses missed, and complex therapies wasted.Read More