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PHILOSOPHY – First Things First

I am starting a new “blog” at chiro.org, specifically as an interactive forum for chiropractic students to both learn from someone in the field and share their ideas and questions. If there is sufficient interest, I will continue to post entries. The focus of this discussion will be on the practical application of treating the patient – adjusting techniques, case management, patient communication, philosophy, etc. rather than the business/marketing side of being a chiropractor, since i believe there are more than enough people out there who can handle that aspect of the business.

Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Bob Swiryn, D.C., a 1992 graduate of Life Chiropractic College, West. I worked in the San Francisco bay area before moving to Kauai in 2000. Believe me, there are big differences working as a chiropractor between the two. Social and cultural differences make you alter your style a bit. But the one thing which I have always been solid with is my personal philosophy of chiropractic – that has never changed. In addition, adjusting techniques are effective on anyone – as long as you can deliver the goods.

With that said, I would like to start off by saying that one of the most important things a student must become grounded in on becoming a chiropractor is his or her philosophy. This belief system will establish who you are, your style of practice, method of patient care and choice of techniques and therapies. Your philosophy will determine whether you are a ”straight” chiropractor or a “mixer”, and whether you participate with certain insurance programs or promote “maintenance” or preventive care. It will decide what size hat you wear – the scope of the “health care” provider you see yourself as. Do you focus on treating musculo-skeltal problems and their associated conditions, or do you believe in a broader definition of yourself as a health care professional? It will construct much of the conversations you have with your patients. Your philosophy will even affect the look of your office: from the artwork on the walls to what’s on the shelves.

So, my first advice to student working at becoming the doctor he or she will be is to get a clear vision as to what your idea of chiropractic philosophy is. Just know that there is no right or wrong way to proceed. In the vast world of today’s health care, there is plenty of room for a variety of doctors and therapists. So don’t look for the “right” answer to this question. Just be willing to be firmly planted in your own philosophy. If you are clear in your own mind what chiropractic is, then it will become clear what your job is, and you will be clearer in your attempts to explain this to your patients. For this is the practical application of philosophy – not some esoteric theory of innate healing, but rather what your patients “get” when they talk to you.

The topic of Philosophy is open for discussion in the ChiroOrg Forums. Just follow this link. You will have to register to join the discussion if you have not previously registered in the Forums.

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