These two terms – “patient” and “practice member” are more than fancy words for the same thing. There’s a real difference, and the answer will support you in getting the results that you came here for… so it’s a very important question. This is where the “Seasons” we spoke about last time start to come to life.

PATIENTPRACTICE MEMBER
Care is disease or pathology centeredCare is person centered
The doctor is an authority to be followedThe doctor and patient are in a dynamic relationship or partnership
Power is placed outside of the individualPower is placed in participation and partnership with the individual and doctor
Surrenders responsibility for himself, assigning wellbeing to the care of the doctorPractitioner and practice member have a cooperative, mutually responsible relationship
The person is equal to the sum of his/her partsThe person is greater than the sum of his/her parts and there are multidimensional factors influencing the individual

Reference: Senzon, Epstein, & Lemberger “Reorganizational Healing as an Integrally Informed Framework for Integral Medicine”, Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 6(4), pp. 113-30

“Patient” comes from a Latin word meaning “One who suffers”. When your health and nerve system can only handle a low amount of energy – what we call the “Season” of Discover – you naturally move away from pain and from what you see as problems. You seek care for those problems and you give your power to those problems AND to your doctors, healers, family, church, government, psychics, advisors, etc. Basically, everything has power over you but you. This doesn’t sound thrilling, but when you are truly in a state of low health, it’s really important to be able to let go and let others support you. That’s vital when you’re in a really screwed up state – and this is supposed to be a SHORT-TERM experience to STABILIZE you! Think in terms of days to weeks, not months to years. These Stages of Healing, this Season in your health (Stages 1-3, the Season of Discover) are best for ACUTE pain and problems – like a car wreck or a concussion or being hit by a meteor. Those are the best times for you to be “patient” – to change from your usual behaviors and allow yourself to be helped. Get quality care, let go of control, this too shall pass.

As a practice member, you get involved in your healing, you think more deeply about what’s really going on, and you start making better choices. Problems are really opportunities to make progress, so you seek care that can bridge the gap between where you are AND where you are going, between who you’ve been and who you are becoming.! Rather than treating the condition, you seek to be cared for as a person, because you know that your health reflects your life, and your life is directly shaped by your choices and your identity. Are you living as the best, healthiest version of yourselves? Have you outgrown certain aspects of yourself – habits of thinking, acting, being – and like a caterpillar it’s time to go through the cocoon into the next version of yourself? This is an empowered collaboration, FAR different than the passive suffering of the “patient”. As a practice member you realize that you are INTEGRAL to your healing adventure, that your choices determine the outcome… and that you can’t do it all alone.

By this stage, I hope that you ARE showing up as a practice member, or have begun to make that transition. Why does that matter?

The “patient” approach can be helpful for your short-term relief and stability and TERRIBLE for your long-term health. Imagine staying in a cast for the rest of your life, even after the bone has healed! It would prevent you from fully healing – you would never regain the movement and strength required for the arm to BE AN ARM! Sure, the bone would look good on an x-ray because it had mended, but if you leave it immobilized – stuck – then you’ll develop secondary problems like your bone weakening, your joints fusing, your muscles breaking down, all from the lack of motion. Treating the symptoms of those secondary problems without taking off the cast would be just plain dumb. This same metaphor can apply to any form of treatment, medication, diet – anything we’ve done to stabilize us after an acute crisis. The things that support us short-term as a patient in an acute crisis can hurt us, hold us back, and make things worse as we get healthier. For every thing there is a season. That’s where a practice member approach is ESSENTIAL for those different stages of healing… for Transform!

When you’re no longer broken and bleeding, now you’re just plain stuck with a too stable “Chronic” problem – stuck in a pattern, non-adaptable to change, Groundhog’s Day – it’s time for you to take your power back and make some changes. When you experience a chronic problem, the answer is not more stabilizing care – you’re already too stable, too stuck. It’s time to make changes! More than changes, it’s time to make PROGRESS. This means movement towards a goal, to a further stage of your health, of your life, of who you want to be. Progress is a state of MORE – being more than you were before, being more of the best YOU! More healthy, more vital, more passionate, more authentic, more trusting, more alive! All this “more” requires three things: more energy, a body and nerve system that are upgraded to handle that energy, and CHOICE. You ALWAYS have a choice. This is one of the qualities that makes a PRACTICE MEMBER very different than a PATIENT!

A patient seeks treatment for pain, hoping it will go away. A practice member experiences pain and seeks treatment to become a better, healthier version of themselves.

A patient surrenders responsibility to the doctor – it’s the doctor’s job to make the pain go away at whatever cost. A practice member collaborates with the doctor, knowing that the greatest support for the doctor’s care happens between visits.

A patient does whatever the doctor says, regardless of the results or feedback from their body. A practice member applies what the doctor recommends and then reports feedback based on their experience, so that together they can personalize the approach.

A patient believes that they are defined by their problems. A practice member knows that there are many factors involved in their experience, and that who they are is more than any of them.

When you’re showing up as a practice member, you are That’s the Season of Transform, and it supports the next Stages of our Healing adventure – Stages 4-7 – where you resolve what’s behind your challenges and your healing, your health, and your life get a lot more energized! These stages don’t just fall on you out of the sky – they require someone to show up as a practice member – so thank you for doing your part! Honestly, give yourself some credit – by even watching these videos and doing these exercises, you’ve demonstrated that you’re a practice member… and there’s always room for MORE!