Q: I know practitioners shouldn't give advice or personal opinions, but when this is a request from the patient, how can I reply without giving the impression that I am cold or indifferent?
A: First, it's a good idea for the practitioner to understand why it is not a good practice to give personal advice and/or opinions. As you might guess, there is a spiritual reason.
Since ancient times, in a variety of cultures, people considered priests as mediators between them and the gods. In the Old Testament we see that individuals—and especially kings—went to the prophets to ask what God might say about what they were about to do. In Jesus' time, anyone who wanted to know what was right or wrong asked the Pharisees, who were supposed to know the law, and its right interpretation for each occasion.