Authenticity In Health Care

Posted by on August 3, 2012 in Ken's Blogs, Speak your authentic truth

Authenticity In Health Care

Are you able to be authentic? Do you speak your truth in every situation, or do you adjust your words based on what you think the other person wants to hear? Are you authentic to yourself, or would you find yourself offering advice to someone, then not following your own advice? Are you able to admit to others when you make a mistake or you just don’t know the answer to something?

I believe authenticity is one of those traits that we all have inside of us and yet sometimes we shy away from being truly authentic for fear of not fitting in, feeling stupid, hurting someone’s feelings or otherwise. And yet when we interact with someone that is truly authentic, we come away silently thanking and appreciating that person for their authenticity.

When we’re authentic in every situation, we don’t have to remember or worry about what we said to that person the last time we talked to them. Our worst case scenario is that we say something in a current conversation that contradicts what we said last time. In all cases our response would be that, based on the knowledge I had at that time, that’s what I believed then. Now I’ve learned something new and I believe differently. And that’s our worst case. We’re never caught in a lie, even a little white lie.

I was sitting by the lake and started to imagine what an authentic conversation might look like in the healthcare system.

What Might Happen Today?

Let’s start with my perception of how things work in many cases today. I’m going to use an example of an autoimmune condition called vitiligo, a diagnosis and situation that happened to me. Bear with me on the symptoms, and maybe apply a condition more meaningful to you as you read, maybe it’s recurring headaches or something similar.

Patient: Doctor, I have this condition on my skin where I get white spots and no hair grows.

Doctor: This looks like vitiligo (that is the name of the condition). I’m going to send you to a skin care specialist.

Specialist: Yup, looks like vitiligo. We have a cream that seems to work in some situations, here’s a prescription. Try it for a few months and check back.

Patient: Thanks doc, that’s great. (Silently thinking, great that there’s an option here, and I don’t have to change anything else in my life).

In my case the cream didn’t work, and many years later I saw a naturopath about the condition.

Naturopath: Interesting. Vitiligo is an autoimmune dis-ease, a condition where the body’s immune system is literally attacking itself. Truth is, we don’t know why the body attacks itself and we do our best to recommend things that have worked for others in the past. We recommend diet and other changes to help rebuild the immune system, there are some natural supplements that help as well.

Patient: Wow, wish I’d heard that part of the story many years ago?

The real story goes on and a few years down the road I was given another autoimmune dis-ease diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, but I want to switch over to a ‘what if’ scenario that focuses on what might have happened if all participants (yes, including me) could have been authentic.

What If?

Patient: Doctor, I have this condition on my skin where I get white spots and no hair grows.

Doctor: This looks like vitiligo (that is the name of the condition). I’m going to send you to a skin care specialist.

Patient: That’s great doc, let’s get this cleared up as it shows up in photographs and I’ve got a wedding coming up in a few months. (The patient, speaking authentically, lets the doctor know of his belief that this should be able to be fixed with a quick-fix remedy).

Doctor: Look, this didn’t just happen overnight and it’s not going to go away overnight. We can treat the symptoms, but unless you get involved and start to help figure out what the root cause is, we’re only going to be masking the problem.

Patient: Can’t I just take a pill or a cream, and the problem will go away?

Doctor: Some of our medicines have done very well at treating symptoms, but they don’t get to the root of the problem. That may be fine in many cases, but not all.

Patient: Hhhmmm, tell me more.

Doctor: … Now before I send you to the specialist, I want you to consider a few things:

  1. What we know for sure is that the human body is a very complex system, and while we have learned a lot about its method of functioning, there’s a lot we don’t know.
  2. We have learned a lot about autoimmune dis-ease, but it frustrates and stumps us as well as to what the root causes are. We are able to treat the symptoms in many cases, and that may be exactly what you need at the moment. We hope to find the root causes in the future.
  3. There are many types of practitioners who have different approaches to treating this condition. Some approaches work for some people and different ones work for others. I encourage you to find out as much as you can about each, and determine which one might work best for you.
  4. If you want to get to the root cause of this condition, then you’re definitely going to have to change your approach. While we may not know what causes autoimmune conditions, we strongly believe that they don’t just happen overnight. The body tries to cope and heal as long as it can, but if we keep doing the same things to it over and over, it seems to get confused and begins to attack itself. The symptoms may appear to have come overnight but they have been developing for a while.
  5. While we understand the body scientifically, you are the best person to understand your own body, and you need to get involved in making the changes necessary.
  6. There are schools of thought and scientific evidence that show that things that are happening in our lives (stressful things in our relationships, jobs, etc.) have an impact on the overall health of our physical bodies. Understanding and dealing with these will help get to the root of the problem.
  7. Many people have healed themselves, seemingly miracles. In most cases the patient had a strong belief that they would heal. We can’t explain that either, but there are so many unexplained cases of spontaneous remission, that it’s hard to explain otherwise.

Again I could go on, but let’s stop and see what’s preventing this authentic conversation from occurring.

How Does The First Scenario Happen?

From a patient’s perspective, we’ve been taught since birth that are doctor’s are among the smartest people we know (that’s true), and they know our bodies better than we do (that’s not totally true). We’re also often taught not to question them and to follow their advice without question. We also are inundated with ads that talk about medications that heal many conditions. It’s not that hard to see why we have become a society that focuses on thinking quick-fix solutions exist.

From a doctor’s perspective, many patients are looking for a quick-fix solution and few are willing to make any changes to their lifestyle. That’s not the doctor’s fault, it’s just the way it has become over the past hundred years or so. You may or may not realize it, but the doctor is also running a business and needs to keep the patients happy. If the patients are demanding quick-fix solutions, then the doctor is in a tough spot. The doctor was brought up the same way as we were and knows that the patients are looking at him as the consummate authority on all things concerned with the human body. If he tells the truth that doctors don’t understand everything, will he undermine the patient’s faith in him? Does he speak his authentic truth and risk losing a patient that doesn’t want to hear that he is responsible (at least partially) for his own health, or does he try to give the best advice possible while shying away from total authenticity?

My Belief

I sincerely believe that a shift is occurring and that people are realizing that many things contribute to our overall health, and if they keep doing the same things over and over (not changing things like diet, exercise, belief systems, not dealing with stressors) and keep getting the same result (not healing), then it really is the definition of insanity.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – Einstein

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them – Einstein

I also believe that many doctors are recognizing that the current model isn’t working, and they are encouraging people to get involved in their own healing.

Dealing and Healing

While this is changing, real changes and real healing will only occur when patients start to accept their own responsibility for their own health. Even then, it will only come when they learn to deal with the stressors in their lives and alleviate them. I like to call it Dealing and Healing. If you ain’t dealing, you ain’t healing.

For Your Consideration (aka my Authentic Truth)

Have you ever seen two people wrestling and one got the other in a hold that they couldn’t get out of? For a while they sucked it up, then they whispered to themself and maybe to the other that they didn’t think they take it any more, but didn’t sound convincing. Then when they really just couldn’t take it any more, they screamed at the pain.

If you take nothing else away from this article, take the time to understand yourself and your own body. Understand the stressors that you’re putting on the body in various situations and recognize the signs that your body is giving you (headache, pain-in-the-neck, etc.). Be authentic with yourself. If something’s not working, deal with it right then. Deal with the signs and root causes right then and there. These are the body’s whispers to tell you that you’re out of balance, and you need to do some work. Listen to the whispers, before the body has no choice but to scream.

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Namaste, Ken


Written by Ken

Ken Jaques describes himself as a Health Care Evolutionary, Community Builder, and Speaker. True healing begins when we treat root causes instead of just masking symptoms. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 2008, Ken has experienced many facets of the health care system. As “the only patient who ever lost their hair on this low of a dosage of chemotherapy” – as spoken by his rheumatologist – Ken has been on an amazing journal of self-discovery, a journey of true healing. In his blog, Ken shares stories of how his beliefs have changed over the past few years, and how they are still changing. Is it possible that our bodies can heal themselves? Do we really have to live without hope after we receive a chronic illness diagnosis? These are the types of questions that Ken encourages people to ask themselves as they embark on their own physical or emotional healing journey.

Ken is creating a platform to connect People, Patients, Practitioners, Partners and Promoters, enabling a collaborative effort to help shift the focus on health from I-llness to We-llness. Check out the pilot at

“When ‘I’ is replaced with ‘we’, even I-llness becomes WE-llness” ~ Malcolm X


  1. Ken, your comments are bang on.
    Good luck with your health recovery journey!
    Have a great long weekend too!

  2. Ken, wonderfully written. I support you in the stance that the allopathic approach to health is not asking the right questions. Western medicine only looks at the symptoms and knows what to do to mask them. It is true, also, that medical students only receive at best one lecture about nutrition, and certainly concepts like mind/body connections are not addressed at all. Indeed, our medical system operates under the premise that “health” is merely the absence of disease. Addressing the little things in a proactive and holistic way is the best way to treat symptoms!

  3. It’s a good approach that you suggest. We all have to take responsibility for our own health. I try to do research on the symptoms before I see the doctor so I’m armed with questions. I learned that lesson years ago when I had food poisoning and asked the doctor what electrolytes do in the body that made it so important to replace them and he told me I didn’t need to worry about it, I just needed to follow his advice. To make a long story short, he did end up telling me what I wanted to know.

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