Several times recently, I’ve heard a health professional say the system they work in is the illness system, not the health system. 

I feel the same way about the courts, especially when they are referred to as ‘the legal system’ (instead of just the sharp end of it). At the pointy end of both medical and legal systems, that is, hospitals and courts, we see accidents and emergencies, the willing and the unwilling, the distressed and the determined. 

Also present are people who haven’t practised preventative medicine.

In my world of family law, that translates to those people who haven’t benefited from pre-emptive action or early intervention. In my observation that is not so much a considered decision, as about a lack of awareness of social science approaches, divorce coaching, financial planning, conflict coaching, and other advice that might set up a safe and healthy separation pathway. 

In my world of peacemaking, healthy and whole practice of law, I see it as my job to steer families to the place they will get most help at the time. I am more than occasionally surprised to learn, in an initial conversation with a client, that the professional they need to see at the time is most definitely not me. When I refer people to the right professional for that time or that issue, they are always grateful to be ‘shown the door’. If they never return, I count that as a success. 

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