Healing Traditions: Alternative Medicine and the Health Professions

By Bonnie Blair O’Connor | Go to book overview

Appendix: Practical Tools

The materials that follow are practical tools for thinking, research, teaching, and practice. They can be used as curriculum materials and guidelines for students, both for content mastery and skills training; as slides and handouts for topical presentations to students and colleagues; as guides to research and fact-finding; as concept maps for clinical practice and service design; as stimuli to critical thinking; and no doubt in other applications.

Basic Questions About Health Systems provides a list of questions to guide research into any specific health belief system, and should lead to a fairly complete description of the system. The more complete the description, the greater the possibility of genuine understanding of the system and its rationales. In clinical practice, the better the understanding, the greater the likelihood of successful intersystem negotiation. And of course, the more successful the negotiation, the greater the odds of satisfactory outcomes for all parties involved (providers and patients alike).

Discovering and Working with Patients’ Nonconventional Health Beliefs and Practices can be used as a teaching tool for students in the health professions, and as a practice guideline for established care givers and service providers. It is a good companion piece to the Clinical Decision Tree that immediately follows it, which outlines in graphic form a suggested general course of decision making regarding patients’ uses of nonconventional healing resources.

Eliciting the Patient’s Explanatory Model provides some basic questions that can be included in clinical history taking to facilitate patients’ descriptions of their own understandings of and preferences regarding their illness and treatment; explanatory notes and cautions alert students and health professionals to corollary considerations. This piece can be used as both a teaching tool and a practice guideline.

The immediately following exercise, Taking a Health Beliefs History,

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