Doctor Challenges Medical Profession to Study Magic

Share Article

One way to improve the communication skills of doctors is to learn the performance techniques that magicians use, according to Lee Grotte, M.D., who has teamed with the faculty of the well known McBride School of Magic to offer a workshop in November especially geared to medical professionals. Dr. Grotte believes that better rapport is the solution to an increasingly impersonal medical system.

A ground-breaking 3 day workshop to help doctors and other medical professionals to improve their relationship with patients will occur on November 4th at the McBride School of Magic in Las Vegas. World-famous magicians Eugene Burger and Jeff McBride have created a workshop to help members of the healing arts understand how techniques usually used by performers can be used to motivate patients and enhance the therapeutic relationship.

"In many ways, magic and medicine require exactly the same skills from their practitioners," says Lee Grotte, M.D., a physician who has been invited to present a perspective on the interface of magic and medicine in Asian and African traditions.

"Both the physician and the magician have to create an impression of skill and capability in their respective fields: Both have to direct attention to that which is important, and away from what is not: Both need to understand how to transform confrontational or disrespectful attitudes. The reality is that both the magician and the doctor are trying to create transformative experiences."

The best magicians learn to develop focus and clarity in their presentations in order to maximize the impact of their magic. The Dean of the magic school, Eugene Burger, proposes that organized and well prepared speaking habits lead to better and more focused thinking about the message that you want to convey, whether you are a magician or a medical professional. He believes magicians should also be aware of how body language and facial expression can enhance the message the performer wants to convey.

"Projecting a positive and supportive attitude helps to create a trusting and productive relationship," explains Grotte, "Although many doctors have superb technical skills, those are not enough by themselves to foster the sort of relationship that leads to improved emotional and physical well being in patients."

"Modern doctors have to keep so many issues balanced in their heads during a patient visit, that it is essential to have a clear plan of action and a routine to make sure that all concerns have been addressed. It has been my experience that if the doctor is unclear or distracted in their own head, the patient will be equally confused at the end of the visit. I often see this when a patient returns to my office after seeing a specialist."

“In the modern era, there are also many factors which tend to undermine the traditional doctor patient relationship, so doctors have to work harder to establish trust and confidence. Not so long ago, people had long term relationships with their physicians. Now, patients are forced to change providers every few years because of employer policies or changes in insurance coverage."

Grotte, in agreement with increasing numbers of the medical profession, feels that good patient relationships and a supportive style can influence patients to be more positive about their situation. He adds that by mastering some of the skills taught by magicians, "We can use the same techniques to influence a patient’s behavior and belief systems to foster healthy habits and thought patterns."

"Another advantage of studying magic is it allows physicians to understand how easy it is to delude ourselves or be fooled by others." says Grotte. "Medical history is filled with examples of practices that were useless or harmful, or progress that was thwarted, because of an unwillingness to examine new ideas objectively."

Grotte believes that a good medical relationship leads to better health for the doctor also, as better patient adherence to treatment will result in less frustration and fear of litigation. “Patients are our primary source of information and education. A good therapeutic relationship does as much for the doctor as the patient.”

"Even when the situation is difficult or even impossible to address medically, the connection between the patient and the doctor remains. This relationship is even more important when the technical ability of the doctor is not. Doctors tend to forget there is a lot of benefit that comes out of compassion and empathy. This is how medicine came to be in the first place."

Details on the workshop are available at

See also:

Wizards Teach Medicine to Doctors

Doctors Study Magic to Transform Fear into Confidence

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Lee Grotte, M.D.

Email >
Visit website