Empowerment is not just one thing but embodies a process that enables people to have the power to guide their own management and healing. Of course people do this in an unconscious manner all the time but often they hand over the idea of control and power to their doctor or other health professional.
There are a number of facets that are important in helping you take ownership of your own healing power and thereby take responsibility for your health and wellbeing.
- Take on most of the decision-making power – this means being willing to take on the responsibility for making your own decisions about your health care
- Obtain the necessary information and resources in order to make decisions – while the internet is a wonderful tool your doctor and other health professionals are also good sources of information. They will be able to help you find useful and reliable information.
- Identify the choices – once you have enough information you can identify what the options are. This can be done jointly with your health professional.
- Find a health professional who will enable you to make your own decisions – most health professionals are willing to work as a team with you making the decisions but many of us (doctors) get used to making decisions for patients.
- Be assertive – this means being assertive in claiming your right to make your own decisions and in finding your own path to healing. It is your body, you know it best.
- Embrace change and growth – healing is enhanced when you are willing to change and grow.
There are many other possible ways to help empower yourself such as assertiveness training, counseling for emotional issues, improving self-esteem and learning new skills.
If you feel disempowered you will need to choose your health care providers more carefully. You are looking for someone who will help you make your own decision and won’t just take over all the decision-making. This is the default position for most of us doctors because it seems to be easier to just tell the patient what they should do. But this denies you the ability to be responsible for your health. This is one of the central pillars of holistic medicine – that the patient is responsible for their own healing. This is true even if you don’t accept this responsibility – the only way to heal is for the self to heal.