Healing, for patients and doctors alike, goes much deeper than fixing a physical problem, Puchalski said. For patients, it can mean “finding a sense of coherence and hope despite facing end of life or chronic illness.”
To facilitate that kind of healing, Puchalski said, doctors need to “back away from the computer” and really listen.
“We use all too many words in health care,” she said. “Out of silence, patients can share what’s going on deeply. They can cry and feel they’re really deeply listened to without judgment. You can fix a fracture but it’s very difficult to fix suffering without that kind of compassionate care.”