Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Professionalism

How do we teach students how to help other people? We currently have created such a hierarchical system which serves those (apparently) on top of the hierarachy. I am currently teaching what is called "professionalization group" which aims to teach students how to act like professionals. Yes, the model for professionalism is so distancing, so aloof, so alienating compared to traditional healers. What about the practice of generosity, humility, appreciation, and connection to the earth that characterize healers. What if these attributes are what help others to heal? The separation of professionals from their clients by the symbols of power (white coat, desk, etc.) can be powerful placeboes if they stimulate the faith, belief, and trust of the client, but, ultimately, I think they lose out to the power of a genuine, humble, more equal relationships, which doesn't mean that the healer doesn't know more about healing than the person coming to him. It just means that outside the healing encounter, they are equal. I read an ethnographer saying that healers told him that their medicine wasn't as powerful as it used to be because fewer people believe. Frank Fools Crow was an amazing healer and he exemplified all the attributes of healers, including humor and being a bit rascally at times.