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“Don’t I Know You?”


“Don’t I Know You?” 

In preparation for a two hour seminar I have been asked to give to a 100 physicians in Kobe in January.  I was asked to speak about and to help physicians learn how to establish deep trust with their patients quickly.  Here is my first attempt at a description of  this seminar.

Many people who have seen me teach are surprised at how quickly and deeply people trust me, as a person, and as a teacher.  I have been a movement therapist and educator for 50 years.  Because I often use my hands when I teach, and because I often do not have much time with a person, knowing how to establish almost immediate trust is essential to my working effectively.

Doctors are often in a similar position.  They do not have much time with a patient.  They want their patients to trust them. During this seminar, I will show you, and help you understand how to establish deep trust between you and your patients.

No Formula

Establishing trust has less to do with what you say to a person, or what you do, and more to do with how you are as a human being.

Once, after a good class, I was surprised at how much warmth I felt from everyone in the group.  I asked my colleague why people liked me so much.  I really did not know.  My friend said, “Bruce, it is so simple.  It is because you like them so much.”

For me, liking people is natural.  There is no technique.  It is who I am.  I am a person who likes people.  That is something you cannot teach someone.

Being a person in a position of authority, or a person with great skill, does not guarantee trust or respect.  Ironically, it is by meeting someone on level ground, as equals, that makes a person feel close to you.

One day, after I had taught for 21 one days, from morning to night, (and I am not Japanese), I finally had one day off.  I was walking down the street and a person came up to me, smiled, and said, “Don’t I know you?”  And I said, “I’m sorry.  I don’t think so.”  He said I looked so familiar to him. I walked for another ten steps and another person who I did not know stopped me, looked into my eyes and said, “I know you, but I cannot remember from where.”  I told her that I just had a very common face, so people often mistake me for someone else.”  She looked at me for a long time.  I wished her well, and continued my walk when a third person stopped me and asked me my name and where I was from.  I told him, but he said, “No, I guess I don’t know you.  But I feel like I know you.”

Then I said, “ We do know each other, but this is the first time we have formally met.”

That never happened to me again, but on that day it happened.

Personally, I do not believe in reincarnation, but I like something the Dali Lama once said.  He said that we have all been reborn so many times that everyone we meet has already been our mother, our father, our husband, our wife, our daughter, our son, and our best friend.

I do my best to see a person in this way when I meet them.  I see them as a member of my family. By simply being human, they are related to me, and I am related to them.  Meeting people in this way is a personal practice for me.

People feel this immediately.  And sometimes, in that one moment, a deep trust is established.  In that one moment, the student, or  the stranger on the street, knows they are safe with me, that they are family, that I care about them, that I see them.

Teaching is an art.  And I am told that medicine is an art too.  A social art.

Our two hours together will be a time when we take an honest look at ourselves, and how we relate to people, and to our patients.   We will learn what we may be doing, or thinking, that prevents our patients from trusting us.

Medical schools turn people into doctors.  In our brief but important time together, we will reflect on how we can turn doctors back into plain people who engender immediate trust from their patients.

I look forward to meeting and to learning from all of you.

Yuroshiku Onegashimasu,

Bruce Fertman

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