A Life Doctor is a psychotherapist trained in Life Medicine and able to provide Life Doctoring for symptoms of all sorts, both ‘mental’ and ‘physical’.
A Life Doctor is not a conventionally trained biomedical doctor and is not qualified to prescribe any form of conventional medical treatment.
Yet a Life Doctor is not only a medically well-informed counsellor and consultant, but also possesses different types of medical knowledge and understandings of life of a sort that ordinary doctors do not receive in their training.
The Life Doctor will never seek to prevent a patient seeing or seeking advice from an ordinary doctor or medical specialist, but will instead explore the patient’s experience of orthodox medical practice and practitioners and the meaning this experience holds for them.
The Life Doctor asks questions of a sort very different to those put by ordinary doctors or specialist consultants – whose main role is to come to a clinical ‘diagnosis’ of a patient’s symptoms and to offer corresponding forms of ‘treatment’.
The types of question put by the Life Doctor include:
When did your symptoms first occur?
What was going on in your life in the hours, days, weeks, months or years preceding the onset of your symptoms?
What were the most significant life events, experiences, dilemmas and decisions that you confronted you in the period preceding the onset of your symptoms?
Was there any sort of underlying mood of discomfort or dis-ease you experienced in this period and if so how would you describe that mood?
What were the most dominant thoughts and emotions you experienced in this period?
Where and how or in what way did or do you sense these feelings in your body?
What sort of overall mood or state of consciousness accompanies your symptoms?
What do you tend to think about most when you are most aware of your symptoms?
What feelings accompany these thoughts?
What do you do with those thoughts and feelings when you have them?
What do you tend to do in response to your symptoms themselves?
At what times or in what situations do your symptoms tend to intensify or re-emerge?
At what times or in what situations do your symptoms tend to diminish?
Have you experienced similar symptoms in the past, and if so at what times and in what circumstances?
How do your symptoms, and the thoughts and feelings you have around them, affect your life, work and relationships?
What do your symptoms either force you to do or stop you from doing?
Is there any positive benefit can you see from the way your symptoms affect your life?
How do your symptoms make YOU feel – in what way do they affect your sense of who you are?
Is there any positive side to the different mood and sense of self accompanying your symptoms?
What are the most important things you miss in your current life and relationships?
What are the most important potentials you feel have been left unfulfilled in your life up to now?
What changes in your life situation do you feel would most help you to alleviate your symptoms?
Your Life Doctor will of course also want to know all the details of your medical history, including any major illness you have had and any medications that have been prescribed to you – but their interest will not just be in your medical history but in your life history.