“It was not well to drive men into final corners; at those moments they could all develop teeth and claws.” ― Stephen Crane
It’s been a few months since I dove into the first part of this series. Building a new practice, family priorities and letting the subject rest for a while kept me away. With a clear mind and focus I dive back in.
Chiropractic Peace is a little known book published in 2009 and read mostly I think by a handful of chiropractors in academia.
It is a collection of essays by three leaders from the focused, middle and broad scope perspectives.
From the description, we see the book is heralded as “the beginning of the end for infighting between mixers (broad-scope) and straights (focused-scope). The three refreshing essays by Drs. Reed Phillips, Ashley Cleveland, and Gerry Clum introduce chiropractic leaders, students, faculty and practitioners to a new, less contentious, dialogue on the political, sociological, philosophical and historical issues of our profession.”
A Nostradamas-esque prediction that is potentially still 50 years away at our current pace.
The book is a must read for anyone truly interested in bringing about peace in our profession because it gives valuable insight into the beliefs and mindsets of the various subspecies of chiropractors. For the benefit of my readers I will provide a definition of those subspecies as many DCs and students alike are unaware of the designations.
- Focused scope: Concerned solely with the detection and correction of vertebral subluxation regardless of symptoms and with an objective of removing neurological stress at the spinal level to allow for the optimum expression of life. The paradox of this approach is that while its scope is focused or narrow, the applications are the most broad.
- Middle scope: Concerned with the correction of subluxation but often within a medical framework and with a holistic approach to natural health incorporating various modalities and therapeutic interventions.
- Broad scope: Medical objective of diagnosis and treating conditions within a primary care model. Broadest scope with the most narrow application within the current practice scope laws.
What stood out quite noticeably in the essays from the middle and broad scope fields was that these esteemed leaders hold inaccurate beliefs regarding the intentions, teachings and practices of the focused scope. Not surprising given the continual inability of the profession to communicate with one another.
As if the conundrum of three professions practicing under the same roof were not enough, a fourth profession, a bastard hybrid of the broad scope school of thought and wanting to administer drugs and surgery, has emerged.
Peace is Knocking but No One is Answering
What was, and still is, the perfect opportunity for true and lasting peace, has been overlooked, or ignored, by those “leading” the profession. An opportunity to finally come together around our basic core values has nearly been lost as politicians politic with no goals but to hide the stains on their shirts.
In my last article on this subject I posed the question, “What are we even fighting for?” It is quite clear we are fighting for personal and professional rights for chiropractic to be very different things as noted above.
We are fighting for beliefs. We are fighting for our egos. We are fighting over economics. And we are fighting for existence.
And yet we continue on as if nothing is happening. We stagnate professionally as no one truly wants to sit down and hash this out. Lots of external smoke screens but nothing concrete. If the profession was serious, we’d have mediated conferences and not the horse and pony shows pranced about.
Peace is Possible
Peace is possible within Chiropractic. However, it cannot and will not exist in the current political power struggle and siege on vertebral subluxation centered chiropractic. Equally, it cannot come with the unpractical and futile attempts of many who belittle other chiropractors because they choose to adjust below C1 or add other services beyond detecting and correcting subluxations. While I choose the focused scope and will always teach its value to the profession and society, I am a pragmatist and understand the other styles are not going away, nor should we attempt to destroy them as others do the focused scope.
Neutrality in matters of war as your neighbor is cast out of his home and lead away to be slaughtered is just as heinous as an act as those perpetrating the action. Leadership must be willing to reign in those groups and individuals leading a professional genocide.
They must definitively say that the practice of pharmacotherapy and surgery are not within the scope of chiropractic and work together to ensure that does not happen.
They must have the courage to reign in those colleges that have moved so far from our boundaries that they are now clearly outside even the designations found in Chiropractic Peace authored just a few short years ago.
Peace is possible, however, not at the high costs or at the end of a bayonet.
What these groups fail to recognize is that as they push us into corners, they are experiencing the natural backlash of their own creation. Some of which they have only just begun to feel and which will undoubtedly intensify if the pushing continues. While their egos may drive them forward, the unique and tremendous value and service of what we have to offer humanity offers a fuel and fire that cannot be extinguished no matter how hard they try.
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Steve Tullius, D.C., ACP
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