Challenging and changing stress-producing thinking
“Your patient had a severe adverse reaction to the medication you prescribed.” Receiving this information, you as the patient's physician are flooded with negative thoughts and feelings and a desire to escape. Through selection, training, and reinforcement, you have been conditioned to think, “I must be thoroughly competent,” “I cannot make mistakes,” and “I need to be totally responsible and in control.” This stress-producing belief system can be identified, challenged, and modified to increase well being without sacrificing integrity and work quality. I describe some cognitive-behavioural techniques that can help physicians break this cycle of negative thinking.
Figure 2 shows that the downward spiral can be interrupted by this process of realistically evaluating your thoughts.