The foundation of the The BirchTree Center Model of Care™ is the practitioner’s personal way of being when in relationship. In this model, the dynamic always begins with the relationship one has with self. Through self-reflection one discovers his or her own deep held beliefs, values and motivations that come into play in all relationships including the ones we create in our personal lives and professional settings. Through self-reflection, practitioners come to realize that self-care and self-renewal is essential to their effectiveness in therapeutic relationships. Once characterized as selfish, especially in nursing circles, caring for oneself is now properly re-framed as integral with compassionate professional care for others.
When practitioners engage in self-renewal practices it expands and enhances their ability to be a healing presence with others and intentionally focus on caring behaviors in practice. As this grows within their daily professional practice, they are able to see the whole person and meet their patient’s needs from a holistic perspective that encompasses the person’s mind, body and spirit.
Similarly, when groups of practitioners engage in care of the whole person, a collective wisdom develops within the group about what it means to serve those who are ill. There is a deep engagement in the process because it fulfills the practitioner’s desire for purpose and meaning in their work. The work environment begins to transform at a deeper level as the caring-healing ethic is felt and lived in the emerging culture. There is transformation of people, behavior and practice; a healing environment and caring culture has manifested.
The image of a basket is intentionally used to represent the capacity of the practitioner to ‘hold the space’ for their patient’s healing. It replaces old imagery of adding skills to our ‘tool box’ which implies patients are broken and need to be fixed. By shifting to the image of an open basket, the potential for all of us to hold healing energy for ourselves, our patients, our fellow co-workers and the healthcare system is engaged.