What's the difference between our approach and the conventional one?
Posted on 13th March 2019 at 08:00
Not surprisingly there are some questions that regularly come up – and we’d be very rich by now if we had a pound every time they did (!). The one we’d like to focus on today is one of the most popular, although that doesn’t make it an easy one to answer.
Bitter experience shows us that, if we go into too much detail, people’s eyes tend to glaze over as they go into mental meltdown. Making it too simple isn’t any better, as people tend to end up completely confused…
Having – unintentionally – caused mental overload to various people over the years (!), we’ve found that an analogy is the simplest way to explain how the two approaches differ. And having experimented with various different ones over the years (!) we’ve found that the one which works best uses the example of how you look after your house.
So, if you're sitting comfortably, then here we go.
Imagine your body is a house and so the health of your body equates to the maintenance of that house. If you don’t carry out regular maintenance, then its “health” starts to suffer. Perhaps the roof starts to leak and, every time it rains, water starts to drip through the ceiling. The water itself isn’t the problem, but a symptom of another underlying – and deeper – one. A poorly maintained roof.
The key differences between the two approaches is how the problem is, first, assessed – diagnosed – and, second, treated.
The conventional approach begins with measuring the problem. How many drips there are per hour or the size of the resulting puddle. This is then used to diagnose the problem and put a label on it. If there are between 50 and 70 drips per hour it’s diagnosed as “Mild Leaky Roof”. Over 100 drips per hour and it’s “Major Leaky Roof.” The crucial thing to note is that the water is seen as the problem, rather than the underlying cause, the poorly maintained roof.
Having identified – and labelled – the cause, a standard treatment is then prescribed. As the water is seen as the problem, rather than the leaky roof, treatment focusses on the water. Preventing it dripping through the ceiling or forming a puddle on the floor. Perhaps by using a water resistant paint to stop the water coming through the ceiling or water absorbing crystals to soak up any water that would otherwise form a puddle on the floor.
When the water stops coming through the ceiling – and there’s no puddle on the floor – the problem appears to have been successfully treated. BUT, and it’s a big but, only as long as the treatment continues.
Unfortunately, as is all too obvious, the problem hasn’t gone away. It simply continues at a deeper – underlying – level until further symptoms become apparent. Perhaps the ceiling collapses, floor joists rot and give way or house starts subsiding.
In each case these will be treated as “new” problems and dealt with separately, with all too obvious consequences. And, as an aside, it’s all too easy to see how a person can end up with many different medications and treatments for different problems which all have the same root cause…
By contrast, our approach is much more investigative. Of course, we always start with the presenting symptoms – the water dripping through the ceiling or puddle on the floor – but that’s only the beginning. Having established WHAT is happening – the end result – we want to find out the WHY. Why this is happening to THIS client at THIS particular time and in THIS particular way.
It’s the reason why we spend so much time getting to know the client, as well as their family and medical history. This is where the answers are to be found to what’s happening and, more importantly, its underlying cause. The leaking roof.
For those used to a conventional approach, it can seem strange that the label isn’t seen as important. It’s just a starting point, a general description of whatever the symptoms may be. It doesn’t describe what’s happening to this particular person or what their particular underlying cause may be.
Similarly, it can seem strange that treatment doesn’t focus solely on the symptoms – the water – but on the leaking roof as well – the underlying cause. In fact, treating the underlying cause is seen as being much more important as, unless it’s addressed, little progress will be made. At best any treatment will be palliative – improving the symptoms without dealing with the cause – rather than truly curative. And, in many cases, new symptoms will appear whether in a few weeks, months or years.
Identifying and addressing the underlying cause often has seemingly magical effects. The symptoms suddenly improve – or disappear altogether – often along with other seemingly unrelated symptoms. In reality they were related, it just wasn’t immediately obvious.
Sometimes it may not be possible to completely clear the symptoms. Perhaps there have been deeper structural changes or damage that can’t easily be reversed. Or, perhaps, the person isn’t ready to make the necessary lifestyle or dietary changes to allow it to happen.
However, improvements can always be made, it’s just a case of how far the client is prepared to make changes to their lives to allow these to happen. And, as an aside, this is why we always stress the importance of the things you do at home every day – both positive and less so. It’s also why making small seemingly insignificant changes can have such a big impact over time.
To our minds it doesn’t take a genius to work out that fixing the roof is the quickest – and simplest – way to stop water coming into your house. But it does involve a little work to address both now, to repair the damage, and in the future to prevent a similar thing happening again.
As always, the choice is yours.
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