What does ‘The King’s Speech’ have in common with naturopathic medicine? Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen The King’s Speech and would like to, this post may spoil the film for you. If you have seen it or are indifferent to knowing what happens…read on…
In the film, prince Albert of England, known as Bertie, seeks out an unconventional speech therapist, Lionel Logue, who has a reputation for truly helping people overcome speech impediments. The prince’s duties involve public speeches addressing large audiences which are broadcast through radio to the nation and the whole world! But he suffers immensely because of a severe stammer. If he is to take over the throne and be king one day, he needs to address his nation and the world with pride, confidence and integrity. So what can this Oscar winning film teach us about naturopathic medicine? Interestingly, there are several parallels between The King’s Speech and naturopathy:
1. Getting to the Root Cause: Lionel works on helping Bertie overcome his speech impediment not only by using speech-specific treatments, but by investigating and discovering the root cause of his ailment. The prince had suffered some childhood abuse and had unhealthy dynamics in the relationships with his brother and his father. In order to heal completely, he brought conscious understanding to the connection with the early traumatic ordeals and then experienced inner healing.
2. Facilitating Healthy Change and Growth: In order to move forward, a new perspective can provide insight on your health. With newfound knowledge, you are empowered to improve your well being. Lionel used a variety of techniques and exercises to treat Bertie as his patient in speech therapy. Lionel takes on the doctor as teacher role in the film and counsels the prince on lifestyle change as well. Favourite dialogue of the film: Bertie lights up a cigarette during one of his speech therapy sessions.
Lionel – “Please don’t do that.”
Bertie – “I’m sorry?”
Lionel – “I believe sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you.”
Bertie – “My physician says it relaxes the throat.”
Lionel – “They’re idiots.”
Bertie – “They’ve all been knighted.”
Lionel – “Makes it official then.”
3. Enabling You to Be Your True Self: As a speech therapist, Lionel works closely with the prince as he transforms into a king. He always had the right attributes to be a king (versus his irresponsible brother who was next in line). However, Bertie didn’t believe in himself enough and was unable to overcome his stammer with conventional methods. Lionel helped Bertie to realize his true potential. Once Bertie received individualized treatment that took into account his personal history, he was able to thrive and bravely meet the challenges of his new role as King of England.
4. Deeply Supportive Relationship: The doctor-patient relationship between Lionel and Bertie was a wonderful example of the difference people feel when they are supported and encouraged which is crucial in healing. In order to move on and meet new experiences with courage, it’s important to have trust in someone and feel like that person is walking beside you down a path they have already followed.