Becoming Aware of Our Emotional Reactions to Improve Clinical Practice
As palliative care clinicians, we use self-awareness skills in all clinical interactions, whether we are aware of it or not. Awareness of our emotional reactions informs communication, decisions, and biases, making it our professional responsibility as palliative care clinicians to be in tune. As a matter of ongoing practice, understanding and recognizing how we personally respond gives us an opportunity to ensure that we are not projecting our own wishes or issues on patients and their families. This deliberate attention and vulnerability in clinical practice not only improves communication and empathy, but also patient outcomes. Improving these self-awareness skills can also help with resilience when working in complex and emotionally challenging situations.
In this Master Clinician session, speaker Vickie Leff, LCSW, APHSW-C will teach attendees how conscious and unconscious reactions improve communication and understanding with patients and families. Using a psychodynamic and social psychology framework, she will discuss emotional intelligence and countertransference—two theories that can help clinicians better understand their natural reactions. By the end of the session, attendees will be able to identify how their reactions inform communication choices, and adopt techniques to improve self-awareness and personal resilience.