How can we create real change?

Dr Bronya Gorney, GP

Change. Those powerful moments in our lives when new possibility can arise.

I became a mother a year ago, and through a fog of 3am cries and the tender haze of little hands clutching my chest, it’s perhaps not a surprise that I’ve walked across that “Bridge of Change”. My edges are gentler, my patience stretches further, my anxiety grips me more tightly.

Maybe it’s obvious that such a major event would impact on the way I think and feel?

I suspect we have all experienced profound, shocking or extraordinary incidents in our lives that have caused deep shifts within. Distinct moments where there’s been a clear “before” and “after” in the way we approach life. Moments of change. Peering through this prism, I can find many such examples of life-changing intensity that I’ve encountered in my work as a doctor. Some are obvious, others more nuanced. The first death certificate. A patient’s unassuming stoicism in the face of adversity. A schizophrenic with more insight than most politicians.

We each carry our own stories of these extraordinary moments and such narratives shape our innermost selves. The stories that stem from these pivotal times unfurl themselves into our deepest Being and shape our perspective and attitudes. A split second can create a lifetime of impact.

As a clinician I can also take this a step further.

Because, as a doctor, I also have a real opportunity to help create these pivotal moments of transformation for my patients. The kind of “a-ha” moments in our lives when we see new possibility, when we open up to new thinking and find practical solutions to old problems.

For most of us, with physical or mental health issues, it’s usually our thinking that’s getting in the way of any real change.

So how do we help each other create new patterns of thinking? How could we help others make real changes in their lives?

I would suggest by forming true partnerships with them, deeply listening to them and then asking profoundly powerful questions.

These are coaching skills and they’ve revolutionised just how much I can help my patients achieve.

Coaching empowers patients to find their own solutions and to take back responsibility for their health. When I coach my patients, I help them find their own unique ways forward, ways that make sense to them and that they feel invested in making happen. This new thinking opens up a radical opportunity for behaviour change. As a clinician, I’ve felt inspired witnessing my patients revel in these breakthrough moments. And joyously, I’ve found this approach has increased my own sense of space.

I believe these skills are an essential tool to help us manage our increasingly complex lives and take back full ownership of our health. Let’s help each other find effective ways to walk across each “Bridge of Change”.

This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. myHealthSpecialist makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any of the information in this article or found by following any link from this article. Please consult a doctor or other healthcare professional for medical advice.

Dr Bronya Gorney, GP

Dr Bronya Gorney is a GP, appraiser, coach and mother.

She delivers coaching training to other health care professionals.

She’s partnered with the well established Relational Dynamic 1st training company to create a two-day Coaching Intensive Programme specifically designed for doctors and other health care professionals. If you’re interested in finding out more please email