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Norman doctor, author finds faith plays role in healing process

Dr. Rita Hancock, of Norman, OK, author of “Radical Well-being: A biblical guide to overcoming pain, illness, and addictions,” sometimes talks with patients about their faith and the role it plays in their recovery.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: January 8, 2013
/articleid/3744005/1/pictures/1923465">Photo - File photo by Jim Beckel
File photo by Jim Beckel

“Also people who have gone from doctor to doctor with no good answers,” she said.

Hancock said she finds that many of her patients with unexplained pain suffer from childhood trauma or feel guilty over something they've done. They've bottled up that trauma for so long that it presents as physical illness, she said.

As a pain management doctor, Hancock said she sees plenty of people who have actual alignment issues. But for patients who are holding in their emotions, an adjustment doesn't seem to provide long-term relief, she said.

When a person is able to work through their emotional pain, their muscles loosen, and they respond better to alignment and other forms of relief, Hancock said.

“You don't want to abuse your position as a physician by forcing your religious beliefs down somebody's throat, so you have to ask permission, but most people are open to that,” she said.

What have other doctors said to you about your approach?

Hancock said not all of her colleagues think it's a good idea to talk about faith.

“Part of the problem appears to be that we're afraid as clinicians ... to bring up the topic of faith because we're worried about the backlash,” Hancock said. “ ... But if faith is important to the person, you can resonate with them on that and help them heal in a deeper way.”

Hancock said she believes people are wired to have a relationship with God, and when they don't have that relationship, they can become ill. Having a relationship with God allows people to seek forgiveness for their sins and find that relief, she said.

“I believe it takes wisdom to know who needs what,” Hancock said. “You could have two patients with elbow pain, and one might need a shot, and one might need to talk about childhood abuse, but again, I always start with the concrete medical aspects, and I go to the emotional spiritual things if I can't get them better with traditional medicine.”

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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