The ability to heal is not reserved for a gifted few. Anyone aching to ease the pain of a sick friend or loved one can tap into the immense power of caring and compassion by learning to become unconditionally present to the patient rather than to the disease. Through stories filled with compassion, wisdom, and gentle humor, Dr. Jeff Kane shows each and every one of us how to help others heal using one simple tool: our presence.
A decade of practicing medicine made Dr. Kane increasingly aware of the limits of medical technology in the healing process. Shifting his study from scientific knowledge to the. personal experience of illness, he began to explore how different our modern techniques for curing are from true and lasting healing. As he points out, while disinfectant and a Band-Aid may cure the skinned knee of a child, it is a parent's hugs and kisses that allow the wound to truly heal. Similarly, the high-tech tools of modern medicine cure diseases, but the prescription for healing is much simpler, and is available to everyone: mindful attention, therapeutic listening, and speaking with truth and compassion. The Healing Companion provides caregivers with all they need to practice these accessible but subtle healing arts.
When serious illness threatens those we love, providing care and support can be a daunting challenge. Complex and conflicting emotions arise, and we can feel at a loss when trying to help. With Dr. Kane as your healing companion, you can deftly guide an ailing person toward the profound inner peace and serenity that make healing possible.
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Jeff Kane is a physician and pioneering facilitator of patient support groups. After ten years of practicing medicine, he realized that while he was an expert at diagnosing and treating diseases, he had no idea how his patients experienced their sickness. He started talking to patients about their sickness and despite receiving excellent medical care, their emotionally suffering went largely unattended. Kane responded by founding the conversation groups that later became know as patient support groups and founded the support program at Sutter Cancer Center. Since then, he has taught thousands of physicians, nurses, and private caregivers how to heal severely and lethally ill patients, has written for key magazines such as Body, Mind, Spirit and Yoga Journal, and has hosted a popular health talk radio show. The Director of Psychosocial Education at Sierra Nevada Cancer Center, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Heroes In Healthcare Program in October 2000. The author lives in Nevada City, California.
In 1976, after 10 years of medical practice, Kane realized that, though he knew a fair amount about diseases, he knew little about how patients experienced them. He left his practice and developed group discussions with patients of what it was like to be sick. He differentiates disease (what the patient has) from illness (what the patient feels). Overwhelmingly preferred for dealing with illness is communication consisting of open, understanding conversation; physical closeness; and "being there." Both attentive listening and "hearing" what is not said are vital. Diseases may be cured, he says, but it is people who are healed. Furthermore, healing is a process, not a goal. He gives many practical suggestions for enabling truly healing relationships, and he reinforces them with end-of-chapter notes. William Beatty
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