Feb 17, 2007

About openness

Quote from Gift of Therapy - Irvin D. Yalom, MD (Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry - Stanford University School of Medicine )

[In therapy] we try to help the public cell grow larger at the expense of the
other three [blind, secret, unconscious] and the secret self to shrink, as
patients, through the process of self-disclosure, share more of
themselves-at first to the therapist and then judiciously to other
appropriate figures in their lives.

If the mentally healthy human is an open human why is openness such a big deal? Of course it is a big deal, but it is something to be admired and praised rather than criticized and presented as the sensation du jour.

In a couple of newsletter I received, there was a title: "Paul Levy did it again". Big sensation, he posted the results of the central line infection rates for the last year for his hospital.

Why does it feel like so few people get it? It is better for a person to be open. A relationship is better when it's open, based on trust and mutual respect. Each of us carries the burden of family secrets that were never shared with us. Is anyone doubting that an open person or relationship is better?

So why not generalize this and accept that organizations that are open and transparent are more successful, that hospitals that publish their data will be trusted more. This feels so obvious to me that I don't even imagine how can anyone doubt it is a good idea.

Between two doctors that have the same knowledge, I would choose the one that is able to honestly accept that (s)he doesn't know when (s)he doesn't. On a flippant note, with preeclampsia this is a great selecting doctors test cause I would never go twice to a doctor that acts as if (s)he knows everything about it.

It feels though like so few people get it. In the organization I volunteer for I keep asking for better communication and more transparency and I get polite thank yous for expressing my opinion. It does make me feel like a freak...

I am so happy that Paul's hospital is having such great results and I have the proof that openness works and that I can keep thinking like this.

Personally, I started this blog in an attempt to open up and I never regretted it. None of my good friends went away, most of them are closer to me now. In addition I now communicate with more people and I find it much easier to talk. It also feels like now everyone knows the worst of me, so there's nothing else to lose. Openness works: for me, my family and my world.

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