The fact that words like “wellness” and “philosophy” can be viewed as pejorative in the chiropractic profession merely shows how insular the chiropractic profession is. The omission of philosophical teaching from chiropractic education may explain why the extreme wings of the profession are guided by dogma and the evangelical teachings of their leaders.
Another word much maligned by chiropractors is ”standards” this word is thrown around by many who would pummel other registered chiropractors out of existence. given the chance. Wouldn’t it be great if the chiropractic profession embraced the principals of education psychologist Jean Piaget.
“ The principal goal of education is to create people who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done – people who are creative, inventive, and discoverers. The second goal is to form a mindset which can be critical, can verify, and not accept everything that is offered”
The divisions that are tearing the profession apart are being instilled at college level. Those who graduate do so with unclear or conflicting identities. This has led to an epidemic of what I call “fixated” chiropractors they call themselves straight, mixer, musculoskeletal, principled, objective, wellness, multi-disciplinary and so on, not to mention confused, ambivalent. Simply being a chiropractor should be enough to satisfy any need to feel special.
For over a hundred years chiropractors fought to protect their unique identity. The enemy is no longer a zealous American Medical Association or even critics like Professor Edzard Ernst The enemy are those among our own ranks who want to force all chiropractors to take the path they are on. They pontificate about “unity” when the mean forcing non believers to follow their dogma, rather than respect the diversity that is chiropractic, linked by the recognition that there is a relationship between the structure of the spine the function of the nervous system and wellbeing.
When it comes to communicating the language of wellbeing within this diversity chiropractors struggle. Instead adopting the approach of Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carrolls “Through the Looking Glass “…..when I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, it means what I chose it to mean- neither more or less…” One of the greatest challenges facing the chiropractic profession today is simply to learn to communicate with each other , our patients, and other health care professions.
During the seventies serious questioning of the biomedical model began by medics themselves. Psychiatrists like chiropractors today were being pressured to finally embrace the medical model of disease. Described as a “hodgepodge of unscientific opinions, assorted philosophies, schools of thought, mixed metaphors, propaganda, politicking for mental health and other esoteric goals”
In 1977 Professor George Engle a psychiatrist did not accept such a premise. He contended that “all medicine is in crisis and that it derives from an adherence to a model of disease no longer adequate for the scientific tasks and social responsibilities of either medicine or psychiatry .“Biomedicine assumes disease to be fully accounted for by deviations from the norm of measurable biological (somatic) variables and it leaves no room within its framework for psychological and social dimensions of illnessnesness”.
Engle described the biomedical model as reductionist “assuming the laws of chemistry and physics would ultimately suffice to explain biological phenomena”. Engle proposed a new model as a challenge to biomedicine he called it the “biopsychosocial” model . He proposed the need for a fundamental reorientation in scientific perspectives in order to open a way to more holistic approaches. His ideas could play a major role in the future of the chiropractic profession if they are explored in their entirety.