Healing on the Inside

25 Mar

Before I get to the healing part of this post, let me fill you in on what got me thinking about it today.

I saw a photo, taken last Monday, of Oregon Governor Kitzhaber signing a bill to set up a new mediation process for patients who have been injured by a medical error. Participation will be voluntary.

What’s important about the bill, in my mind, is the chance for injured patients to have discussions with health care providers and doctors in a confidential setting about what happened to them. That’s something that our legal system with courts and their formality can’t provide.

I read several articles about this new law and they all covered the same basics. What I didn’t see any of the reporters write about is one of the most important opportunities that mediation offers … expressing emotion.  Suffering an injury is a highly emotional experience. Can you imagine it happening to you? Or a loved one? Wouldn’t you be scared? hurt? angry? betrayed?

Box of TissuesMediation is a unique form of conflict resolution in that release of emotion is expected and welcomed during sessions. Why? Because the subject matter is personal and means so much. Raised voices, interruptions, insults are common … and so are tears. And sometimes lots of them. A box of Kleenex is a ‘must have’ at a mediation. I remember a mediation I had about a young child and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room – including mine.

I once read that tears on the outside are the beginning of healing on the inside. That’s why I thought about healing when I learned that Oregon had taken this big step for injured patients.


P.S. Next week, I will resume the series on ‘listening’ … I promise.

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