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“It is not possible for the clinicians supporting this site to provide specific clinical advice to individual patients. If you submit a question or comment we may (if appropriate) be able to respond in general terms within this blog. Any answer will be visible to all readers, who may also find it helpful. The Whole Person Healthcare site information is constructed by clinicians working in conventional health disciplines and who use ordinary everyday healthcare treatments. The information is provided to enable patients and other clinicians to include any ‘story’ and life experience factors involved in triggering and perpetuating illness along with normal medical and other healthcare. It is the responsibility of each reader to make sure they are seeking and making full and appropriate use of normal healthcare resources along with whatever they find helpful here.”
February 2, 2023
Do not invent anything

Dear Friends and colleagues As I begin 2023, I am thinking of all the like-minded colleagues around the world, known to me or not, who are on a journey of exploration, discovering what it means in practice to be a ‘whole person-centred’ clinician. There is a recurring question in this: ‘Why is it so difficult […]

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November 9, 2022
Forging Stories

What really counts is the heart of a story. We forge our own stories into ‘wholes’ by choosing particular and special details, linking them together in the ‘present moment.’

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May 16, 2022
I gave it my best shot

Recently I lunched with a younger physician colleague, who is making a significant shift in career, in his forties. Like me, though somewhat differently, he has worked hard at showing, persuading, promoting what can be done when what I call a ‘whole person-centred’ or ‘mindbody’ approach is applied to physical disease, or when we re-focus […]

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May 5, 2022
Finding meanings of illness in dark times

The Covid-19 pandemic has provoked much discussion regarding the meanings of this huge global event. The New Zealand Christians in Science organisation invited Brian Broom to speak on “Finding meaning in disease”. This video comprises his talk and his responses to the many questions coming from the audience

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March 9, 2022
A plunge into the ‘whole’

I have been asking myself, yet again, ‘Where does a ‘whole person-centred’ approach fit in modern New Zealand?’ The Government has taken the plunge. Our indigenous Maori people are getting a well-funded opportunity to organise a more ‘wholistic’ healthcare system, for themselves, through the establishment of a new entity, the Maori Health Authority. Our current […]

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March 6, 2020
The Person-Centred Upholsterer

I discovered him by internet search–someone purporting to customise chairs for people with back problems. This sounded promising. I had fractured a vertebra six months previously, and sitting, chairs and pain had become wrestling partners. So I called him up the next day during normal office hours. He clearly wasn’t ready for customers; his name […]

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March 2, 2020
How do we find colour in the clinical encounter?

It is difficult manoeuvering in the normative healthcare space, which, typically, is constructed and confined by questions and answers. It is difficult to find room for my whole person-oriented language, to find a whole person space for the patient and me to occupy, and into which the storied metaphors of our human suffering and complexity […]

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June 28, 2018
“A rickety old shed in a haunted forest”

I figured my stories could interest him. Many years ago my family and I were lunching with Bob, a surgical colleague, and his family. The occasion was winding down, and he and I had subsided into a corner to share work perspectives. Both of us had unusual work histories. He was an altruistic and principled […]

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August 24, 2017
Imagination and its companions

How is it possible to be whole person-oriented and still feel that our work is manageable? Surely, we can’t be all things to all people? Biomedical diagnoses and treatments of the ‘mechanical’ (sic) body are largely grounded in recognizing typical clinical patterns, objectively measured and verifiable physical changes using reliable testing methods, and statistical evidence […]

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November 22, 2016
How this began with symbolic illnesses

How did the whole person approach develop? All histories go endlessly backwards (and forwards). But a major marker of change occurred in 1988 when, after several years away from my internal medicine (clinical immunology) practice, I re-ignited it and amalgamated it with my newly developed psychotherapy training. In short, I put together a highly conventional […]

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