The Veterinarian’s Intellectual and Intuitive Mind
Dr Dennis Thomas DVM has written an intriguing article on his website about how veterinarians go about their business in diagnosing illness. The best veterinarians use both their intellectual, conditioned mind and their intuition in a balanced partnership.
The intellectual, rational mind tends not to listen to the client but flips through its database of information and comes up with a diagnosis and treatment. Dr Thomas says that after about 30 seconds a veterinarian can stop listening to his client because he or she has already decided what’s wrong with the cat or dog or other pet before him. All he hears is the blah-blah of the client’s words in the background while he formulates how he can confirm his diagnosis through subsequent tests.
If the vet does that they block out a vital component to an accurate diagnosis. They block out the intuitive mind which listens to their client. Their client, being a layperson and unqualified but who knows their pet extremely well, can only rely on intuition. Therefore when she explains her cat’s illness (and the background to it) to her veterinarian she’s providing him with useful intuitive information upon which her veterinarian can build a better diagnosis in conjunction with his intellectual, conditioned mind.
Veterinarians are conditioned, Dr Thomas says, and trained to use their intellectual, diagnostic mind. Veterinarians are intelligent people. They can solve problems based on careful analysis. However, Dr Thomas says that they must also rely on the intuitive aspect of their mind and in doing so they treat the patient rather than simply the disease.
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He says that if you treat the patient you can never go wrong but if you simply treat the disease you can go down the wrong path. When the intuitive mind works with the intellectual brain then the brain-mind is in balance.
This is my interpretation of his lengthy discourse on this topic which I found fascinating. My understanding of it is (and other people might have a different view on this) that people can and should rely on intuition. It provides a more holistic viewpoint, a viewpoint which takes into account experiences which are valuable and which are not necessarily directly focused on the issues presented to them.
The fact is that all people should listen to their intuitive mind. It provides a feeling that something is right or wrong or good or bad. It is based upon layer upon layer of one’s life’s experience. This is incredibly valuable information which should be tapped into. Even veterinarians should have the confidence to rely upon it. It may lead them down a different and better path in diagnosis. Intuition is less formulaic and allows for alternative thoughts which in turn can allow the veterinarian to get to the bottom of a difficult to diagnose disease.
What can the client take from these thoughts? Well, the first thing is that a sensible and observant cat owner should realise that she has real value when in the consultation room with her veterinarian. She should ensure that her thoughts are listened to without causing upset; but a good veterinarian will listen. The client shouldn’t automatically assume that their veterinarian is listening to them! Perhaps if she thinks that he is not listeneing she should lead him back onto the straight and narrow by, in conversation, asking whether he intuitively thinks that he has made the right diagnosis!
Read Dr Thomas’s article.
My thanks to Sandy for spotting this topic for me.
Extremely important take on veterinary visits and animal health. Obviously good veterinarians will use both their intellectual, rational mind and their intuition, which will allow each animal to be treated as a unique patient. Good article, Michael Broad. A topic definitely needing acknowledgement.
Thanks Frances. I think it is important too. Good cat caretakers need to make sure they provide input if they can and disagree with vets if they feel they are going wrong. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience amongst good, long-term cat caretakers/guardians.
I feel that vets can ‘process’ patients because time is money and in doing so they provide formulaic solutions which sometimes are inadequate.