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Dear patient:

a letter of intent

I wrote this letter shortly after I made the very difficult and scary decision to leave my fellowship program early.

This letter was, and is, an expression of what, and who, I hope to be for all of my patients.

It’s a reminder of why I’m doing all of this: why I’m trudging out on my own, counter to what I ever wanted or imagined for myself; why I spend so much time and energy honing my craft; why I care so much.

It’s so easy to get caught up in trivial details when working with people and trying to practice in an evidence-based manner. But at the end of the day, the reason we work so hard is so that we can help the person in front of us.

The more I stay true to this essence of helping, the more I find that I can help the person in front of me in a meaningful way, even if it’s not always in the way(s) that I expect.

Dear patient,

Today my intentions are:

to have an open heart,

to be curious,

to listen to you,

to hear you.

May I remember:

It’s not what I do, it’s how I am,

& the only way to truly help you is through love.

May I also remember:

I don’t owe you anything;

I cannot change, fix, or heal you;

& I cannot do the work for you.

But what I can offer you is this:

I can do my best to create a space of safety, love, and healing;

I can share my own experiences of suffering, as well as those of others I have known;

I can step into your story and navigate with you, as best as I know how;

I can help set the conditions for your mind & body to heal themselves;

I can be present, in the midst of your suffering, without judgment or aversion.

So may I meet you today as a human being, free from the roles that keep us separate,

and may I sit down across from you — my fellow human being — with an open heart, an open mind, and a singular question:

How can I help?




And when our time together is finished, may I let go of any ‘could haves’, ‘should haves’, and ‘if onlys’, so that the next person who I work with can be received with the same openness.

And when I make mistakes, take missteps, and outright fail during our time together,

may I honor you by acknowledging and learning from these experiences.

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