Transform the Therapist-Patient Relationship With Meditation
Meditation Can Boost Job Performance and Patient Interactions: Get Off to the Right Start With Tips From the Deepak Chopra Center’s Lead Educator
Better your chances at breaking through with patients by changing your perspective
Overcome patients’ past interactions: “The therapist or case worker who chooses to approach the meeting with patience, kindness, and really listening, can connect on a ‘higher level,’” says Deepak Chopra Center’s Lead Educator. How can you do the same? Find out.
Meditation Can Boost Job Performance and Patient Interactions
davidji’s path to becoming a meditative speaker, healer, author, and 10-year Lead Educator for the Chopra Center was not direct by any means. He had been immersed in the daily grind of the U.S. corporate world in big-city Manhattan, when he had several wake up calls or “awakenings,” which led him to question his life choices.
One question in particular spurred his evolution: Asked by a homeless man who one day pulled on his pant leg as he walked by and said, “What’s going to be on your tombstone?” Then davidji made the decision to break away from his life and began a path of meditation, soul-searching, and discovering his true life’s purpose. Drs. Deepak Chopra and David Simon valued his business acumen and invited him to become the COO of The Chopra Center. They gave him the name davidji.
“‘Ji’ is a term of reverence in Hindi meaning ‘beloved.’ The lower case ‘d’ stresses humility in that we are all beloved,” says davidji, who now seeks to share his experiences and what he has learned to help others.
“Science has now demonstrated that practicing meditation actually increases the grey matter in the brain as it relates to learning, memory, and special orientation while shrinking the grey matter associated with fear, anger, and anxiety,” he says. Any relationship can benefit from a meditative and thoughtful approach, and this especially holds true for the therapist-patient dynamic.
At the very first meeting, where conditioning from past interactions can immediately come into play (for example, being used to telling the “same old story” to one doctor after the next), it can make all the difference if the therapist or case worker chooses to approach the meeting with patience, kindness, and really listening, striving to connect on a “higher level” and think outside of conditioned expectations.
davidji recommends holding the patient’s hands for just a few seconds while making eye contact. The intention is to create an atmosphere of trust and understanding, increasing the level of comfort, relaxation, and connection. With your attitude and actions, show the patient that you are not in a hurry to get to your next engagement and your mind is not preoccupied with other matters; give them your full attention and see what a difference it can make.
The health and relationship benefits of meditation are well-documented scientifically in studies conducted by major universities, but if you want real proof, davidji recommends trying it out for yourself: at the beginning of each therapy session, both you and your patient can “simply sit in silence for 5 minutes, eyes closed, and silently observe the inhale and exhales of the breath.”
davidji’s instructions for 4-part breathing, also known as 16 seconds to bliss:
- Sit comfortably
- Eyes can be open or closed (open if driving)
- Inhale to the count of four
- Hold for the count of four
- Exhale to the count of four
- Hold to the count of four
- You can stop here or repeat for as long as needed
Meditation is an easy, no-cost practice requiring a very low time investment but which can create enormous benefits for your own health, the health of your patient, your relationships, job performance, and quality of life. The links below will take you to recent scientific studies confirming the positive effects of meditation:
Meditation changes the physical structure of the brain:
The work of Dr. Richard J. Davidson:
Meditation shows the rate of cellular aging: