Doctor: “How are you?”
Doctor: “What would you like to talk about today?”
Patient: “Nothing much.”
Doctor: “How come?”
Patient: “Because I’m fine.”
Doctor: “What exactly do you mean by fine?”
Patient: “I thought you’d never ask!”
“F” stands for fucked-up.”
“I” stands for inconsolable.”
“N” stands for nothingness.”
“E” stands for empty.”
“And how are you?
Interestingly, the patient smiled when the doctor inquired as to what was meant by the use of the word, “fine.”
Later it was admitted that the doctor, alone, had “passed the test” which “more than a dozen other doctors” had failed.
The “test” was to see if the doctor had the authentic wherewithal to deeply and profoundly respect the patient.
At least, initially and solely from the patient’s point of view.
Without any untoward biases, preconceived assumptions or pet theories held by the “good doctor.”
Would the doctor really look and actually see; accurately listen and and receptively hear; appropriately touch and empathetically feel?
Not for the patient to inflate the doctor’s ego, defer to superior rank or submit to benevolent parentifying authority.
Rather for the doctor to “bear witness” to the tale that the patient needed to be told as the teller of the told tale?
The patient wasn’t supposed to be there for the doctor for it was the doctor’s proper role to be there for the patient.
In the end, it worked out the way it was supposed to since the doctor didn’t assume understanding of a single thing.
It occurred to the doctor that a given word, simultaneously, had literal and figurative meaning and implication.
Just because the doctor may presume to know what the word “fine” means, either, personally for self or, consensually, for others...
Is not a certain guarantee that a given patient’s use of the same word will necessarily result in the same use or same meaning of that word.
Sometimes “fine” means “fine” and sometimes “fine” means something other than “fine.”
Luckily for this particular patient, the ”good doctor” was able to “pass the test” and the rest of the story for this person turned-out to be quite “fine!”
Author Note: Dr. Larry B. Gelman is a Clinical Psychologist and a Personal Mentor
© 2015 Northern Illinois Counseling Associates, P.C. (NICA), Personal Mentoring Services (PMS)
Dr. Larry B. Gelman, Dr. Glenn B. Gelman, All Rights Reserved.