True healing has more to do with listening and unconditional love than fixing people.
-Gerald Jampolsky & Diane V. Cirincione

From "Love, Medicine and Miracles," by Bernie Siegel:

Exceptional patients have the ability to throw statistics aside-to say, "I can be a survivor"-even when the doctor isn't wise enough to do so. Just think of the courage it took for someone to conquer a certain type of cancer that no one else had ever conquered before...

The belief systems of physicians and patients interact, but patients' bodies respond directly to their own beliefs, not their doctors'. Physicians tend to be more logical, statistical and rigid, and less inclined to have hope, than their patients. When physicians run out of remedies, they're likely to give up. They must realize, however, that lack of faith in the patient's ability to heal can severely limit that ability. We should never say, "There's nothing more I can do for you." There's always something more we can do, even if it's only to sit down, talk, and help the patient hope and pray.

The usual attitude of doctors is summed up perfectly in the experience of Stephanie... After the diagnosis of cancer, her doctor outlined the rest of her life, as predicted by statistics, right into an early grave. She asked what she could do, and he told her, "All you've got is a hope and a prayer." She said, "How do I hope and pray?" He replied, "I don't know. It's not my line." Her experience had taught her how to hope and pray, and Stephanie has altered the course of her disease, exceeding expectations, and her doctor is now making notes about her success. Later she wrote that this doctor, in mentioning hope and prayer, " was actually prescribing the one medication that was going to cure me, and he never even knew it.


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Also on Beliefnet:

  • When Prayers Don't Heal
  • Is Laughter the Best Medicine?

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