I observe that many modern doctors fit into the Myers-Briggs sensing trait. As the name implies, people with this trait get their information about life from their senses.
They are realistic, down-to-earth people, but they tend to see everything in rather simplistic, concrete, black-or-white terms. They focus on details; see through a microscope, depend on “studies” and statistics thus “standard of care”(everyone else is doing it). They employ very linear ways of getting information and making decisions. It blocks information coming from the unconscious which involves mystery, hunches, and connections. Those who have those intuitive gifts are demeaned, and the information coming from them is considered inferior. What, then, might be attracting sensates to the “doctoring” professions?
I would first think that intuitives (see the big picture, seek truth, question everything, search for reasons and causes) would flock to a profession where their reasoning skills and curiosity would be rewarded. Then, I recall how doctors are TRAINED – like Pavlov’s dogs, for the most part. The process of training and indoctrination seems to effectively weed out the intuitives. The book, Forgive and Remember by Charles Bosk, presents a detailed narrative on how doctors are made. Those who question the status quo are eliminated early on.
A friend tells about her doctor who commented on medical school requirements. He said that people in admissions reportedly went back on transcripts as far as high school and every person they accepted had to have earned an A in all science courses. Nobody else need apply.The doctor’s comment was: can you imagine what kind of people we are attracting? And those who get in, who have additional gifts of intuition or feeling, have it pounded or shamed out of them (see Bosk). Curiosity is considered a negative. Compliance is rewarded.
What about doctors like Gregory House, MD, the fictional antihero in the TV series, HOUSE? He doesn’t exist and could never exist in the real medical world. His name “House” is a play on Sherlock “Holmes”, the “curious investigator.” If he did exist, he surely would not be in a large teaching hospital. He would not be allowed to supervise residents or interns. In the TV series, he’s tolerated with exasperation. In the REAL WORLD he would loose is license – and maybe tossed in jail for illegal drug use.
Personally, I’m becoming much more comfortable with my own MBTI category (can you guess what it is?). It is helpful to know that I will almost always be misunderstood – and that it is okay because I’m happy with the truth as I see it, particularly the big picture. I have learned to keep my opinions to myself unless asked directly (except in my book and blogs). I sit back and observe. Ask me, however, and I’ll give you everything I have at hand.
A reader asked me today if I had reports or studies about using low doses of naltrexone for psoriasis. I responded that I could do better – I would use what I know about LDN and psoriasis to arrive at a conclusion. I wonder what the reader will think – or if he’ll even mention it to his doctor. Sad, there is a method for relieving his suffering, but chances are good that he’ll never act on my suggestions. Its his life, after all. I am not in charge.
As a society, we will probably never overcome the Doctor/God thing. The forces that perpetuate it are very great. Individuals, however, will continue to recognize the truth and will join Tribes. (Seth Godin,Tribes) that meet their personal needs and psychological type.
No, I am not so arrogant as to believe that the above is fully accurate. However, my experiences suggest that there is far more than just a kernel of truth in it. Like any system, Myers-Briggs typing is not perfect. Yet it generally does very well in helping people recognize and understand their own traits – and those of the people around them.
Even though Dr. House is fictional, I suggest there is much we can learn from the character – if welook and think. I encourage everyone – especially health practitioners – to locate and cultivate their “Inner House”.