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hink back to when you first knew professional and expert in your field-and thinking based on often habitual ways of inthat you wanted to be a clinician. the expectations of that can rise, and rise teracting in the world. Thought distortions
How old were you? Who was there, some more. High expectations are great- are often directly related to core beliefs-
who supported you? What did it feel until they're not. You're human too.
sometimes positive and sometimes negative
like? How did you know medicine was for
When is it when you feel most yourself? set of unconscious beliefs that we created
you? Was it a deep, profound knowing this Your true self? Is it teaching? Travelling? often in childhood to frame or structure
was your path, or a practical choice you Spending time with family, children? the way we see the world. High-achievers
took with confidence and self-reflection? Engaged a in beloved activity or exciting (e.g., many caretaking professionals) can
When we consider what brought us to sport? Considering your own Resiliency have especially strong core beliefs.
our decisions in life, we often see a bigger Web can be an effective way to take stock
A few examples of core beliefs include
picture. Yet self-reflection takes time that in where your time is being spent and "I have to be the best," "No one will do it
often we professionals don't have. Our perhaps consider ways your time can be like me," "I can't trust people," while some
everyday is often filled with busyness-and more fruitfully spent.
positive ones are "I am loveable," or "I can
being a physician and healthcare provider
Notice how much time you spend on the achieve what I want," or "I can trust others
offers its own challenges. Burnout in the activities that fill your emotional reserves. to get my needs met."
medical field is growing to crisis proportions Is it balanced? What would it take to move
The reason why core beliefs stick is that
(1). The healthcare system is set up in a way over to a place of more balance? What we often see the world through the lens of
that can shelve the true art of medicine needs to change?
that belief. If we have an unconscious core
and dismiss the humanity of its providers
Digging deep and facing your own belief that "I can't trust people," then that
and who can be left feeling like veritable
will be our cognitive frame of reference
islands in the industrial healthcare complex. personal challenges when your patients with which we see the world-and the
need you, when your schedule is chaotic,
Resiliency training, or developing when your organization does not prioritize resulting evidence will confirm our belief
personalized systems and structures to wellness, when the system does not allow (this is called confirmation bias).
maintain mental and physical wellness, is enough time off-it feels nearly impossible
When we are aware of our thought
an important part of burnout prevention to affect change!
distortions, then we can in turn impact
and maintaining a fruitful career as a
our negative core beliefs and support
professional caregiver. Stigma remains
our positive core beliefs. If we want to
high in seeking mental health care, and
strengthen the core belief that "I am good
physicians and healthcare providers are
and worthy," then we can first notice our
no exception to this rule. The need for
thought patterns, notice how they affect us,
support is great, from a systemic as well
and change them to support the positive
as personal standpoint.
At the end of the day, who is taking care
of the caretakers? Have you thought about
The Posture of Curiosity
how the helper and healer in you-that
person inside dedicated to making the world
One way to affect some change in our
a healthier, better place-has been affected
We can be effective change agents in our thought distortions is to adopt a posture
by the twists and turns in your career? What lives, even when it feels overwhelming or of curiosity.
if you thought about YOUR needs, hopes that the odds are stacked against us. It
Perhaps you are finding that you are
and desires? By using some thoughtful begins with self-reflection.
enjoying the art and science of medicine
self-reflection and cognitive reframing
less these days. You yearn for the brightstrategies, clinicians can improve balance
bushy-tailed way you looked at your
and increase resiliency both personally and Kick Those Negative Voices to the Curb
career when you began it, five, ten, 15
When you are considering change in your years ago. A negative thought that could
life, you may notice the "committee" in your come up is "I'll never feel like that again,"
head-those negative voices dismissing the or "Those times are over and I'm stuck in
So, Who Am I?
path of growth: "But I have obligations," "I my life right now."
Is your work your identity? Our Western don't have time," "It doesn't pay the bills,"
medical culture can impact the self-image "I don't know how," "My family would be
of healthcare providers. Somehow along upset if I put myself first," etc., etc.
Continued on page 10
the line, clinicians can be saddled by this
These are thought distortions--errors in
image of being superhuman. You may be a
Central PA Medicine Spring 2020 9
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