A discussion of the medical model and the alternative model of Sei-ki.
The Indivisibility of Diagnosis/Treatment in Sei-ki
by Alice Whieldon
The medical model of treatment and diagnosis is very useful but there is another approach that operates quite differently; this is the model we use in Sei-ki. Each has its worth and place. This article sets out to say something about that difference and how Sei-ki operates.
The medical model
The medical model, in which a diagnosis is made and treatment then applied, has much truth and great workability. If it is diagnosed that my leg is broken, then treatment will be undergone and this helps me very much.
The medical model treats the body as the person. While individual medics may have personal views about what a person is that are more nuanced, medicine operates on the assumption that the person is the body. It is reductive; it reduces the person to the physical. As we know, this brings great benefits and reflects some of reality.
The Sei-ki model
Sei-ki recognises the individual person as distinct from mind/body. This has consequences for how we approach people. The person may come to a session with an ailment, such as a painful back. There may be an obvious diagnosis here, for instance, we could recognise that there is pain because of a trapped nerve. We could map it and we might see that if only that particular muscle could relax, then the pain might be resolved. But we do not approach the person as the body. We approach the person who has a body. This has a different tone and feel.
In Sei-ki, we set out to understand and appreciate the situation of this person. That situation currently includes a trapped nerve and pain. Recognition is the whole work. Here, diagnosis and treatment are the same thing. Diagnosis is treatment; treatment is the process of diagnosis. We sympathise with the person for their discomfort but we do not identify them as one and the same as their pain. We put our attention on the person and gradually we start to see a bigger picture, a story that is currently manifesting in back pain. We do not see it as a linear drama leading to this point, but a unique pattern or way of being that has come about as this particular manifestation of life.
In seeking to fully appreciate or ‘hear’ this manifestation and recognise how it is for this particular person, something happens. We follow the shape and movement of this way of being. As we do so, we find ourselves following where this pattern wants to go and, without intention or force, the muscles relax and the pain vanishes or shifts.
In our work to understand rather than to change how it is, the person experiences being uncritically recognised. When someone experiences being received, robustly and without judgement, the expressions they have been making that can manifest in the body and emotions as discomfort and in the mind as fixed and unhelpful thoughts can, at least in part, cease. Because they have been received and are no longer needed.
This is very effective, but there we must stop. We might think we now have the answer – if only I can see how it is and follow the movement I can make this happen. But that is not how it works. It cannot be turned into a medical technique. If you think you are doing this move for this particular outcome, all is lost. Instead, we can only work to recognise how it is for people and get good at offering this kind of space and touch. We cannot make this into diagnosis and then treatment – separating the two. It cannot be squeezed into the medical model.
Treatment and diagnosis
Our modern, western language and ways of thinking give us the idea that we can separate diagnosis and treatment into two steps. But language does not reflect all of reality. It is 2 dimensional while reality has dimensions language cannot capture. The word ‘table’ has no actual connection to the thing in itself. The word ‘table’ is a useful tool for navigating the world and relating to one another; in this important sense it is ‘real’. But that’s all. ‘Me’ is the name I call myself, it is not who and what I am.
The fact that we use two words, ‘diagnosis’ and ‘treatment’, gives the impression that actual diagnosis and treatment can be separated and performed as distinct steps.
Language represents a shared way of interpreting the world. It gives meaning, so we can operate in coherent and collaborative ways. But this coherence is thin and reflects only a fraction of what is true. It obscures the unimaginable dynamics of eternity.
Seeing the client is both recognition and balm; recognition is treatment. The way to approach non-dual diagnosis in Sei-ki is by asking yourself, what am I doing? What is here? What do I feel? The answer, or the diagnosis, does not matter. It is only important while you do not know. As soon as you identify what you feel, as soon as you are conscious of something, then it is gone. By then you are on to the next question, what is this? What do I feel?…..
The practice is in bringing the diagnosis to the surface and letting it go, over and over. There is nothing to treat. Reality is perfect, oblivious to our tinkering. Only by recognising and letting go; by finding a comfortable way with the paradox of doing and not-doing. Non-dual diagnosis takes place now and now and now.