Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Shame and Pride; Pity and Sympathy: No Match for Wholehearted Empathy

I'm forever grateful to David Aspy, EdD, now a mentor from heaven, who taught me empathy and more.  He had directed the National Consortium for Humanizing Education in the 1970's and wrote Kids Don't Learn from People They Don't Like with Flora N. Roebuck, EdD in 1977, among other works.  As a resident physician, I was looking for teaching strategies to help resident physicians improve their teaching skills as head of a workgroup for the AMA Resident Physician Section in 1977-78.

Al Vastyan, PhD in the Humanities Department at Penn State, Hershey an important part of the MS Hershey, knew of the project.  He called me one day with sudden enthusiasm about the project when he read an article by Dr. Aspy.  I read the article and called Eastern Kentucky University where Dr Aspy had relocated his work.  We talked a good while.  He sent me a packet of books including the one above.  I was hooked.  And excited about others of his writings such as Toward a Technology for Humanizing Education.

He invited me to Richmond, KY to learn more.  Dave spent two days teaching me about empathy, congruence and genuineness as applied to audio and video-tape analysis of teacher-learner situations.  He showed me the work of Robert Carkhuff, PhD about teaching and helping.  The Art of Helping, The Skills of Teaching:  Interpersonal Skills and the Carkhuff Interpersonal Skills Scale were included.

Two key pieces of the training were included in the Cognitive Functioning Categories Training Module by Dr.'s Aspy and Roebuck.  The Flander's Interaction Analysis rounded out the tape rating checklists and skill training scenarios.
Listen to my Dr Synonymous Broadcast to hear more:
Dr Jonas on BlogTalk Radio as Dr Synonymous

Thanks to Dave Aspy for his mentorship and message.
The transformation of medical practice has taken many physicians away from personalized patient engagement.  Accurate empathy has been shown to facilitate learning by students and patients.  Is it time to re-emphasize accurate empathy and even grade some patient-physician interactions for how we teach and learn from each other?  Has "Meaningless Use" and Bonus Based Medicine taken physicians away from empathy?  Can medical practice recover from our mis-alignment with societal and patient needs?

Should we have a National Consortium for Humanizing Medicine?  Health Care?