Stress management: experiential learning of chiropractic philosophy


Chiropr J Aust 1998; 28(1):7-12.


A student-centred learning experience is described in which formulation of a stress management contract is used to demonstrate how mind-body medicine influences health care assumptions and clinical behaviour. Research Design: A case study describing a learning experience during which 62 undergraduate students developed patient-centred stress management contracts is reported. Each student was required to select a client and use a standard stress management package as an aid to negotiating a personalised stress management program. Each stress management package contained questions to enhance self-awareness the impact of personal stress and provided a range of stress-management options. The process involved clients identifying their level of perceived stress, negotiating a stress management package and implementing the preferred options. A questionnaire was used to ascertain the client's response to the stress management experience. Results: Eighteen percent (18%) of clients included in the study considered themselves to be stress-free or to suffer minimal stress. The remainder assessed themselves as moderately or severely stressed in one or more dimensions. Overall, routine exercise emerged as the most preferred tress management strategy for chronic stress. Muscle relaxation and deep breathing were the favoured strategies in instanced of acute stress. Stressed individuals found they benefited from a combination of intervention options. The majority of stressed clients considered that implementation of their stress contract reduced their stress levels. Discussion: This preclinical experience provided an opportunity for students to develop an intellectual and emotional appreciation of the meaning of patient-centred care and to observe how management triggers in one dimension of health care can contribute to wellness in another. Conclusion: In addition to refining the skills necessary for negotiating health management contracts, this experiential learning oppor tunity created an environment in which the assumptions and implications of health care within the framework of the info-medical model could be demonstrated.

Mosby, Inc.


By J.R. Jamison

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