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ERIC Number: EJ856937
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 24
ISSN: ISSN-0090-9882
Narrative Medicine as Witness for the Self-Telling Body
Charon, Rita
Journal of Applied Communication Research, v37 n2 p118-131 May 2009
By talking with patients in specialized ways and by touching their bodies in specialized ways, doctors may come to some provisional conclusions about the patients' medical conditions and then make some preliminary decisions about what diagnostic tests to have them endure and what medical treatments to initiate. In this article, the author describes how her work in what she has come to call "narrative medicine" began--as an answer to patients' laments that their doctors do not listen to them or seem indifferent to their suffering. She defines narrative medicine as an effort to make audible to clinicians what patients try so hard to tell them, and to make visible through imaginative attention the plight in which patients' illnesses cast them. Narrative medicine recognizes that the central events of health care are the giving and receiving of accounts of self. As human beings hear one another out, donating serious and generous attention, listening from the teller's side, they are able to perceive one another, bestowing and accepting recognition as a result. All that philosophers, linguists, autobiographers, psychoanalysts, and literary scholars can teach doctors about giving and receiving accounts of the self is not only salient to clinical medicine but also breathtaking in its power to transform a technical duty into a potent gift of mutual recognition. (Contains 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A