It’s rare for someone to KNOW they need to go to the doctor. Yes, there are occasions like broken bones, or loss of consciousness, or horrible rashes, that clearly necessitate a trip to a professional, but those are the exception, not the rule. More often, we suffer from less clear symptoms like a bad headache, a dull ache in our chest, or a cough that won’t go away. How do we know when it’s time to go to the doctor’s office? This is the grey area of health care where there’s not a clear answer. The best we can really get to is….maybe?

"there is a gap between the need for and the demand for health care and many people are not consulting for symptoms that often could be alleviated by professional medical treatment. Some general practitioners complain that patients 'overutilize' with 'trivial' conditions, although evidence suggests that this may reflect a difference in perspectives in that patients use different criteria to judge the need for urgent care than doctors” - Michael Calnan, MSC PHD - The University of Canterbury
So more often than not, we end up in the waiting room of the clinic with some degree of uncertainty about if we should even be there. We’re a little squeamish when we describe what we’re experiencing, and wonder either to ourselves or out loud, “am i big baby for complaining about this?”
So the first step in caring for a patient is putting that fear to rest with empathetic validation. 
“patients asses their doctors not just in terms of their medical skills but also in terms of their ability to understand individual problems and to explain what is wrong with them.” - Michael Calnan, MSC PHD - The University of Canterbury
According to Theresa Wiseman at The University of Southampton there are four primary attributes to empathy - 

    1. Perspective taking: “I can imagine what it would be like to walk in your shoes”
    2. Staying out of judgement: “I appreciate your situation and your perspective.”
    3. Recognizing the emotion: “I can tell you’re experiencing fear.”
    4. Communicating that recognition: “I’ve been there, and that really sucks.” instead of  “It could be worse…” 
That's empathy. 
Validation says “that makes sense.” Validation says not only can I empathize, and imagine what it feels like to go through what you’re going through, but I also validate in the broader sense that your feelings and actions are understandable by the community at large. 
That's validation.
Empathetic Validation says “I feel what you’re feeling, and your actions make sense.”
Examples of Empathic Validation from a doctor:
“A headache like that is really painful, I think most people would have tried ibuprofen first like you did.”
“Stroke symptoms can be really scary, and most people struggle to know if they’re actually caused by something else.”
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