Living with Chronic Pain
5 Tips for Dealing With Gaslighting From Healthcare Practitioners
Medical gaslighting occurs when a healthcare practitioner trivializes or dismisses an individual’s symptoms. This can lead to a lack of adequate care and can affect physical and mental wellbeing. Therefore, recognizing and dealing with medical gaslighting is essential.
Five tips for dealing with gaslighting from healthcare practitioners are listed below:
- Be as honest and open as possible. Proper communication is an important component of good healthcare. If a healthcare practitioner trivializes or dismisses symptoms, it’s important to communicate that you aren’t feeling heard. This gives the medical professional the opportunity to recognize and change gaslighting behavior.
- Bring a family member or friend to medical appointments. An outsider’s perspective can help healthcare practitioners better understand the reality and severity of symptoms. In addition, having another person in the room makes gaslighting less likely. It can also be easier to discuss any concerns about gaslighting with a family member or friend there for support.
- Be proactive with any bias issues. Women, people of color, individuals in the LGBTQ+ community, individuals who deal with mental illness, and individuals who are overweight are more likely to experience gaslighting due to bias. If possible, these biases should be discussed with a healthcare practitioner before a problem arises. These discussions can help ensure that the healthcare practitioner will take symptoms seriously.
- Find a new healthcare practitioner if necessary. If a healthcare practitioner does not take concerns seriously or acts based on prejudice, sometimes the best solution is to find a different healthcare practitioner. When searching for a new provider, be as honest as possible about past experiences with gaslighting and ask the new medical professional what they can do to prevent a similar situation.
- Report gaslighting healthcare practitioners. If gaslighting does occur, the healthcare practitioner should be reported to a supervisor, the board of the hospital, or the regulating college or agency. Reporting the experience can help prevent other individuals under the practitioner’s care from experiencing gaslighting.