“Values clarification” has become a common buzzphrase in dentistry, particularly with regard to patients and their treatment choices.
Too often, values clarification has become code for “We know what is best and if they do not choose it, then they don’t belong here.”
And that is pure judgmentalism, as the implication is that only WE are the knowers and keepers of proper values, and that everyone else needs rise up in agreement.
In reality, values clarification has nothing to do with our patients choosing what we want for them, and it isn’t even about choosing the best; it’s about making fully informed choices in real time referenced against other issues and demands going on in that person’s life.
It can take five minutes.
It can take five years.
And those choices may or may not be in alignment with our practice’s values and mission.
And that is ok.
The more important issue is: Can we help this person in a way that does not violate OUR values? Can we lead them to a healthier place by facilitating a change in their perspective?
Regardless, attempting to do so require clarity of OUR values well before we start a new relationship with a patient.
Values…Mission…Purpose…Strategies…and ultimately choices are made.
Both a practice and the patients within it have work and growth to do if the true agenda is to move forward toward more optimal health and healing. Our work is essential, their’s is elective, but both clearly influence the outcome.
Paul A Henny DDS
Thought Experiments LLC, ©2017
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