Dr. Marie Curious reports back to Dr. Les Schwab that her arousal level is unacceptably high in the course of the work day, and he comments that difficult conversations in the clinic may be a contributing factor. He introduces her to Dr. Cathy Lanteri, a practicing psychiatrist and executive coach. Cathy explains that the current environment requires physicians to develop expertise in communication, conflict resolution and team building, and gives Marie pointers for effectively managing difficult conversations. One should take a step back, think about the primary goal, pay attention to one’s feelings, and consider how best to reach the other person. It is important to recognize how the brain responds emotionally when caught in a "limbic loop," and to short circuit that loop by thinking analytically. Cathy demonstrates the I-F-I-A-R (“if I am ready for resolution”) paradigm to help Marie navigate strained interactions more effectively. I-F-I-A-R focuses on factual, first-person communications to help us maintain our composure and “get to yes.” Marie and Les both find utility in this approach.
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