“Art is meant to disturb, science reassures.”
~ George Braque, painter and sculptor
Art takes us out of our comfort zone and into new experiences. One of my medical instructors once told us during morning rounds: “Medicine is this attempt to master Chaos at its worst.” The Art of Healing (as Hippocrates defined it) most certainly fits the bill. In every civilization past and present, healers held a special standing. It is so because healing has been, is and always will be at the nexus of the 4 fundamental forces (birth, life, health, death) that shapes the human experience.
By the very act of witnessing, experiencing and practicing the Art, healers promote the healthy side of these fundamental forces while (trying to) correct its pathological manifestations; they will be thrown out of their comfort zone . The more pathological and intractable is the condition presented, the more the healer may experience discomfort, anxiety, and at times, a sense of impotence and futility. Revisit such a state of distress and disarray enough times and even the more emotionally grounded healer shall be the host of the Infernal Triad of fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Show me a healer that is not, at least instinctively aware of this and I’ll show you a liar and a public menace. These are the ones who will do the impossible to deny, deflect and evade the Triad. Guess what? The patients will eventually feel the fear, uncertainty and doubt…and (hopefully) leave before damage is done. Emotions are mental bacteria and viruses in the sense that they also infected us.
To avoid such turmoil and remain effective in their service to others, healers of all persuasions and disciplines have used different strategies. The most reasonable consist in limiting the scope of practice and avoid difficult cases for which the practitioner does not have sufficient training or experience. Such an approach assume the healer knows enough science to be aware of his/her limits. There is nothing more dangerous than an ignorant healer who is unaware of his/her ignorance. The role of science is to provide grounding and stability to the Art of Healing. The scientific method and its techniques are the paintbrushes, chisels, hammers palettes and tools that allow a healer to practice the Art with more precision and intelligence. Without these tools, qualities such as intuition, empathy and compassion, while wonderful for care giving, are woefully insufficient when comes the time to perform therapeutic assessments and interventions.
Therefore, let’s keep perfecting our Art of healing, guide our clients to wholesome wellness and good health with compassion while practicing diligence in using the best tools available in performing this noble endeavor.