Thursday, November 26, 2009

Another day, another presentation

Yes, another day, or rather another week, and I was off to do another presentation. This time I was attending the annual meeting of the European Society of Sexual Medicine in Lyon.

The task at hand was to present - at a formal dinner - to 100 international opinion formers about the difficulty of addressing sexual issues in medical consultations. As always I was delighted to oblige because - as those of you who read my previous blogs will know - bridging the gap between patients and health professionals is one of my passions. It was all very exciting!

In the event, what excited me most about my four-day presence at the conference was how enthusiastically the other delegates shared my vision. Remember, we are talking here not about a gathering of therapists or counsellors, but of physicians - and frankly, even up to even a few years ago, the issue of empathic communication would have fallen on deaf ears. But this time, not only was my own speech well-received, but the main body of the conference contained a wonderful flurry of other relevant presentations

One of the best was a session led by my colleague John Dean, where two young actors and a willing therapist role-played a worst- and then a best-practice consultation for a couple with sexual difficulties. The actors were convincing, the therapist skilled, and John himself drew some very nice lessons from the demonstration.

In short, the energy for open, sensitive and cooperative patient-professional communication was higher than I have ever seen it; I do believe that there is a real sea change on the way, where both sides can start to understand (and help) the other.

The result, surely, will be better health care and more job satisfaction. The next decade ahead is going to be very exciting!

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