Since starting to focus on promotion versus pointing out the many challenges in the profession, I have to admit that I have been much more productive.
From an increased focus in my practice to the creation of an an entire community education program on autism and vertebral subluxation, I’ve found great momentum in promotion.
And while I will continue to promote, I am reminded by the constant tug of disunity, distrust and dysfunction within the profession and a strong duty to protect it as well.
Seeing that I’ve given plenty of challenge lately, let’s stay on promotion.
Why I Practice in a Focused Scope
This post has been in the back of my mind for quite a while.
Mostly because it is something I love, but also to share with others why I am dedicated to the focused scope in hopes of swinging more towards it as well as helping others understand it instead of fearing it and trying to tear it down.
In previous posts, I have discussed the three different scopes in chiropractic: the broad, middle and focused.
I was quite surprised when a chiropractic college instructor thought I had coined the term “focused.” After further thought, it did seem quite understandable as the concepts were never mentioned throughout my broad scope training at LACC and Sherman College of Chiropractic and Life University students were commonly referred to as “crazy cultists” by other students. The culture on campus was one of ridicule, fear and disdain for the focused scope chiropractor and school of thought without any serious form of academic inquiry or exploration.
Sounds like a great recipe for social conflict. Hmmm.
In my opinion, the only way towards peace in chiropractic is by recognizing the value of each scope and granting each other the academic and clinical freedom to pursue that. Over the last 118 years that has not been the case and it has brought us to the peak of the Chiropractic Civil War. And by peak, I am not suggesting we have seen the worst of it either as the potential for it to get a whole lot uglier looms on the horizon.
As long as our accrediting body, state boards and institutions attempt to “educate” and legislate the focused scope school of thought and practitioner and to some degree the middle scope as well, out of the profession, I will fight.
And as we have seen in recent years, so will many others.
Why We Fight: The Value of the Focused Scope
The focused scope will never go away.
It cannot. The practitioners and public value it too greatly.
Years ago I use to practice in the middle scope. It was what I knew. After going to a broad scope school yet still holding onto a cursory knowledge of our philosophy and subluxation, I considered myself a “straight.” It wasn’t until I dove deeper into our philosophy and history as well as becoming certain of what vertebral subluxation is and how to address it, that I fully embraced the focused scope.
People do things for various reasons. Some for pleasure. Others to avoid pain. Even more probably operate without any course for their sails. But I, like most of you, have chosen a particular style of practice for specific reasons.
There are those from all three scopes that pick their methods based upon financial gain, many in the focused and middle scope took their ground out of duty to a “Sacred Trust,” and many more seem to have adopted a hybrid philosophy from the mixed messages received throughout the profession.
Please don’t take that last statement the wrong way and seriously consider how one is to know what chiropractic is when we openly acknowledge it is three things? Or worse, as a former president claims, it is whatever a chiropractor says it is.
While many will deny it is those three things, it does not change the fact that like the game of telephone, the more often our students are exposed to rudimentary pieces of the three things from various venues and media, the more confused, morphed and riddled with incongruities each of the scopes and profession becomes.
Clarity, Certainty, Consistency
In my opinion the focused scope holds the greatest value for the public and the profession because it is the most clear, certain and consistent.
Practicing within the focused scope offers the public and practitioner all three of the qualities above.
If one studies the characteristics of a profession, they will find common traits across the board. The most common characteristic is that a profession possesses a distinct body of knowledge and skills that it uses to render a service in a specific, limited area.
What could be more specialized and specific than the detection and correction of vertebral subluxation for the purpose of restoring normal neurological function to the body? Who else is doing that?
The focus, objective and value are very clear. The public gets it. They understand it and can accept that much better than the concept that a chiropractor is an alternative primary care physician who uses natural methods to treat disease.
In one model, everyone with commonsense and a high priority on optimal health, function and wellbeing is a candidate for our regular care. In the other model we are an alternative when medicine doesn’t “work” or for a small population that tries “chiropractic first.”
One model can be marketed successfully while the other will always flounder against an entrenched allopathic system. Perhaps this is why the broad and middle scope continue to move closer and closer to allopathy as they clamor for integration and primary care physician status?
When the public enters the focused scope practice, they can be certain of what they are going to consistently receive. They do not have to guess whether one day it will be an adjustment and the next day a foot bath, herb or weight loss program. They respect the boundaries and you as a professional who provides a professional service with your distinct knowledge and skill.
And why shouldn’t they? That model is everywhere in healthcare and every other profession.
Have a toothache? See the dentist. But what if that dentist starts to tell you why you should be drinking Monavie? Are you going to trust him? Maybe. Are you going to consider him an expert in dentistry? Not likely.
Specialization in healthcare and other professions such as accounting and law is so common that the public has come to expect it. So why do we feel the need to be all things to all people when it comes to health? Is that fair? Seems no different than the allopaths previous and current attempts. Is it professional? Not according to the characteristics used in classifying professions.
Until we can consistently present a clear picture of what the profession is, and more importantly, what the profession does, our chances of having any sort of real impact are minimal at best.
There is great pride in providing vertebral subluxation correction to the public. As far as I’m concerned there is no single greater intervention by a healthcare professional that can positively and powerfully impact the health, function and quality of life of society.
The correction of vertebral subluxation and subsequent restoration of normal function that ensues is a valuable commodity. Couple that with our beautiful philosophy and the focused scope offers the world something of extreme value that no one else is offering.
More on that next time…
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Steve Tullius, D.C., ACP
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