In this week’s blog, I want to talk to you about understanding the psychology of chronically ill patients. There’s a lot that came up for me in the last year from being sick with my chronic illness. I’ve lived with an autoimmune condition for over 22 years, but I had this bad flare up out of nowhere. It really took me down to where it really affected my psychology. 

I think it’s easy for us as practitioners from being on the different side of the fence to tell our patients what to do, and if they don’t comply, we get frustrated. That’s been the most difficult thing in being a registered dietician in the hospital. 

For example, working with diabetic patients and losing patients. Then, shifting my career into physical therapy, Seeing patients and the lack of compliance, I never understood except to be frustrated at how ineffective the outcome was because the patients weren’t complying with what they needed to be doing. 

I want to make sure that you understand that chronically ill patients do struggle to get through their day. It’s really hard when you are barely trying to get through the day. Many of them have lost their ability to perform basic functional daily tasks. 

This creates a complex psychological struggle that keeps them from having the will to even help themselves to get better. Despite well-intended treatment approaches by medical practitioners like registered dieticians physicians, as well as physical therapists, many patients disappoint and frustrate their practitioners. 

We get frustrated with non-compliance and it’s important to apply this key missing ingredient, which is transformational coaching skills to get your patients out of their heads towards taking productive action for their wellbeing. This is what’s going to radically elevate their results. 

Important Coaching Strategies that Helps the Aspect of Psychology

Today, I will share with you the important coaching strategies that you can deploy to get better outcomes for your patients. More patients equals more revenue. At the end of the day, we all are concerned with making an impact while making money at the same time. I am offering this up to any practitioners in wellness and health. Anyone who promotes health and wellness will need this important skill. Coaching is one that we all laugh at because it’s not something didactically that we learned in school.

I believe that the many didactically trained practitioners, including physicians, really lack the coaching skill to shift the perspective of the patients. The ability to coach is to help a person change in the way they wish in their health and wellness by helping them go through the direction they want to go. Our job is to sort of coach them through or mentor them through in that direction. 

Understand the Psychology Aspect

After graduating from my master’s in public health, I worked as a dietician in the hospital, as well as in the diabetic center and in a weight-loss clinic. I remember being so frustrated because I knew all the things that the patients should do. A one size fits all was my idea of what my calorie intake for that patient was and looked at the glycemic index.

Even though I knew all things clinically in my head, that wouldn’t really translate into my patients getting results. Because somehow or another, I have to sort of shift or transfer all my knowledge into what they can do every single day. I had to sort of distill down all my knowledge in bytes sites, things that they can eat in a very elemental way every single day. In order to not hike up the glycaemic or glucose levels up and down. 

I remember feeling so frustrated because one of my patients didn’t even want to be there to talk about glycemic index. Some patients never really understood the importance behind it. Then, here I was as a clinician, teaching them carbohydrates, fats, and macro, and your macro on your champions, as well as the glycemic index.

What they really wanted to know was what they eat but they didn’t really understand why it’s important. They never really understood why they should do what I said they should do, not to mention. I didn’t have any coaching skills. So other than sharing with them what I knew and hoping for the best, it was very limited. 

Can You Shift Your Patient’s Perspective in Psychology?

The real work is your ability to make your patients see from where they are to where they can go and have them commit to that process. Having you guiding them through is what you really need to be doing. When you show up that way in your clinical practice, it makes your job so much easier and so much fun. If you’re effective, there’s going to be a lot more patient base word of mouth spreads, and you’re going to have a successful practice in that way.

That’s why I really want you to tune in and have a competitive edge to get the patients to shift their perspective; that’s the greatest gift you can give them. 

I got so jaded by the registered dietician where I was talking until I was blue in the face, but yet there was no compliance. Then, I got discouraged and I thought I would help people move. I wanted to see real time results and that’s something I can really apply in the field of physical therapy.

Our Job As A Practitioner

After I graduated and did physical therapy clinically, I was in the clinics and I realized that there are only two to three hours that I would see a patient for probably about 12 weeks. That’s the standard treatment protocol, at least back then it was. Outside of that, to enable them to regain their functional ability from surgery, injury, or pain, it would need to do whatever it is that I was teaching them to do to improve their functional motion.

The home exercises would be vital, but again, I ran into the same issue. If they didn’t practice the home exercises, then you can clearly see the limited progress in their ability to function. So how could I get them leveled up into doing the things to really coach them through? To take them from point A to point B, where they need to go and they need to wrap their head around it and they need to embrace their own goals. Not to have me set the goals for them, and yet I was busy doing those things. But again, because we were so trained to be practitioners or professionals, we wear the hat of responsibility for their gain. 

However, we can’t guarantee the patient’s progress without their involvement. Our job is to get their involvement in their own health and get them interested. We should be able to change their perspective about who they think they are by stepping in and committing themselves to their own health and wellness.

Psychology of A Patient

The psychology of a patient living with chronic illness though, is really hard. We’re all humans and we have human nature. We get frustrated, we start to have judgments and these are all subconscious things. But I want you to be careful of judging your chronically ill patients. 

I recently had a flare up and it was a chronic situation where day after day for over a year, I couldn’t function in my daily life at the level I’m used to functioning. That was really devastating for me and I realized that I went into this negative spiral where I wanted to give up on everything and I became very self destructive. The self-sabotage, the negative conversations in my head were very common. It really took everything from me in that way.

I want to make sure that you won’t be like that. So remember to really leverage your knowledge with your understanding. As well as your compassion, because these things really offer them the coaching process. These things really help the patients pull through no matter what they’re going through. 

However, you need to understand that the psychology of a patient who is going through the chronically ill phase of their disease is very negative. As a practitioner, you have to sort of pull them out of there. If you can make them get enlisted and committed to their own health, then you’ve done your job. In that way, you can make so much more of an impact and you’ll be transforming lives for sure. 

The Coaching Tools

But what are the coaching tools? I’ve kind of come up with many different tools. I’ve looked at many different coaching tools, specifically life coaching tools, nutrition, or health and wellness coaching tools. 

These days, coaching is everywhere because people recognize the need for the psychological shift. It’s all about the mindset as the fundamental basis for anything that can happen in our lives, whether it be fitness goals, wellness goals, dietary goals, or career goals. Everything needs a coaching process for us to really break down our limiting beliefs. Also, to really step into having breakthroughs and getting rid of those limiting beliefs to all the possibilities, because it’s all about how we view the world that we manifest everything in our lives. 

What is Alkaline Methodology?

We utilize a specific framework called the Alkaline Methodology, which has four essential elements. 

The first of which is Transformational Psychology. It has two elements; the inner awakening piece and the outer manifestation. Then, there’s a three step pillar in each one of them.

The third element in the Alkaline Methodology is all about Modern Medicine. It’s all about applying nutritional science, all the functional medicine, supplements and the medical treatments that we commonly consider.

You can exactly know what those things are because knowing the application are two very different things. You need transformational coaching to leverage what you know in modern medicine. Also, to have and help your patients in order to apply that in their daily lives.

Lastly, the fourth element is the Ancient Wisdom. The peace where the yin meets the yang. It’s the mysticism, the miraculous nature of our bodies and sort of respecting that through the practice of yoga. There’s also energy medicine and meditation, and those three pillars make it the whole ancient wisdom piece of the puzzle. Wherein, it makes up the complete four essential elements in our awakening, outer manifestation, modern medicine and ancient wisdom.

The Common Sense Approach

With that, I provide you with the framework to put it all together because today in the wellness and home health and wellness sector, what’s missing is the integration of all the pieces together. I’ve experienced firsthand as a patient that when I’m kind of consuming one aspect of the healthcare modality, from the medical aspect, it was really up to the patient to integrate all the pieces of the puzzle together with no expertise and no reliance on where to start. I sort of summed it up together kind of based on my personal experience of putting all the pieces together.

However, what’s more important is in the application; the common sense approach to this so that the patients can have tangible things that they can walk away with where they feel like they are whole. 

With that being said, I would like to discuss some of the transformational coaching tools that I put together. This was really adopted from many different coaching schools.

One of them is including life coaching school.

Observe Your Patients

It’s all about letting the patient be heard and what they’re experiencing. You really have to establish rapport that way. You have to sort of let them hear or let them talk about what are the issues and the struggles that they have in really getting together their meal plan.

Is it their family or is it their kids? You need to fully comprehend their situation. Allow them to talk and just mutually observe what is happening in their lives.

Alkaline Life Model

Again, adopted from life coaching school. It’s all about understanding that circumstances in life will always be up or down; positive or negative, but that doesn’t determine what we have coaching over or what we do have control over. Wherein, our thoughts that really trigger our feelings. These feelings that really activate our behavior. Then, behaviors that create the result over time.

Hence, despite the fact that we don’t have control over the circumstances, we do have absolute control over how we show up despite the circumstances. This is based on our thoughts, feelings, actions, and results that we create in our lives. Going through and breaking that down while learning those tools is key to them succeeding.

Emotional Maturity

A lot of people do things out of feelings. I believe that feelings trigger the actions. Thus, we become very irrational when we’re angry. When we’re too happy, we overextend.

Having emotional maturity is to feel what we feel and allow it so that we don’t haste the react. You should be consumed and be aware of your tendencies. Your up and down emotions by learning to absorb them and then proactively dealing with your life situations, as opposed to being all reactive. That’s what we call emotional maturity.

Expectations for Others

A lot of the times we get upset based on other people’s actions and we blame them for it. We think that that’s what they are. That they have control over how we feel and what we do. We want to let go of understanding that nobody has power over us.

We can’t dictate what they do, but we can always be more tuned into how we’re going to deal with who they are. I believe that we can’t change anybody else. All we have control over is ourselves. That’s what I want you to understand because that’s one of the coaching tools.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

A lot of people struggle with being a yes woman or a yes man. People pleasing is a big thing, and that’s because we were conditioned to please our caregivers.

We want to be accepted. We’re all social creatures and we want to be liked and to be respected. However, we’re afraid to speak up not to upset anybody. Even though we know that it’s the best thing for us. We do this despite the fact that whatever we decide is actually negating our ability or our lives. But we still do it anyway for the sake of making other people happy. That displacement of respect really comes back to us to create the resentment, guilt, anger and all the negative things.

Therefore, setting healthy boundaries and gaining respect, especially with those around us, is key to how you are going to have a successful and healthy relationships.

Asking Powerful Questions

As a practitioner, we should be able to each our patients how to ask powerful questions.

A lot of the times, the quality of our lives are determined by the quality of the question to be in our life.

You think about how, when something goes wrong. You ask yourself why does a certain thing happens to you all the time. This kind of question is a good-ended question. This is going to lead you to get into answers versus how you can be better at doing things.

There are also productive questions that leaves open possibilities for your subconscious mind, in order to exactly answer what that is. Your mind is going to go and get the answers to that question.

Hence, determining how to ask those powerful questions in your patients is key too. By first, figuring out what questions are they asking in their head. Because most people don’t even recognize the toxic nature of the conversations that they keep having with themselves.

What Emotional Digestion Does to Your Patient’s Psychology

Equally, a thing that we teach is Emotional Digestion. A lot of people struggle with feeding the emotions and because they don’t want to feel bad, they’ll overcompensate and go the other direction to sort of get away from feeling bad. 

As I say to my coaching clients is that the worst thing that can happen is really about how you feel. So if you’re really scared of that feeling, and you’re constantly buffering with alcohol or food, that’s something to recognize. That can help so you can fix and learn to be the sit with feeling the emotions in your body.

Once you feel like asking questions, you can start to process them and decide. Then, you can try different feelings in that given situation. But remember to choose the different feelings like you’re choosing your wardrobe every day to serve yourself better. Because a lot of us don’t even know how to shift our feelings. A lot of us don’t even know that we can shift the feelings or change our feelings from choosing sadness to choosing happiness in that moment. 

Just learning simple concepts like that, you realize that the patients can really pull themselves out of the weed so that they can make clear and productive decisions in that moment. This is key for their success because that sadness feeling always prompts us to take action. Which later on we take from a negative feeling that is usually not the action that we should be or ought to be taking towards our goals.

Love and Respect Yourself

The final thing that I teach all about coaching is learning to love and respect yourself.

Having self regard will eventually teach you to stop neglecting yourself to please everybody else. That self-love is a lifelong journey because most of us are walking around self-loathing. We have to admit that it’s the one that sabotages our efforts in making changes for the better. When we allow our patients to see that, it’s going to be so powerful to the point that it can change everything.

Level Up You and Your Patient’s Aspect in Psychology

I just hope that you can apply this to your knowledge in functional medicine, yoga, nutrition, physical fitness, physical therapy, or what clinical skills. It will really help you to level up and shine as a coach and not just improve their physical ability, their medical status or their nutritional state. You, as a practitioner can really transform their lives to elevate their consciousness by setting their mindset right and to go after what is the best for them. That ripple effect into other areas of their lives is going to be so amazing for you. 

As you can see, the best outcome is increased patients, word of mouth marketing, and having a flock of patients that are always on your waiting list because you’re so impactful. From that, you’re going to have a successful revenue generating practice of your dreams, doing what you love, having the impact at such an exponential level with your patients.

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Thank you so much for reading this blog. I appreciate you and I hope you’ll have a great week!