From Detached Concern to Empathy: Humanizing Medical Practice / Edition 1by Jodi Halpern
Pub. Date: 05/28/2001
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Physicians recognize the importance of patients' emotions in healing yet believe their own emotional responses represent lapses in objectivity. Patients complain that physicians are too detached. Halpern argues that by empathizing with patients, rather than detaching, physicians can best help them. Yet there is no consistent view of what, precisely, clinical
Physicians recognize the importance of patients' emotions in healing yet believe their own emotional responses represent lapses in objectivity. Patients complain that physicians are too detached. Halpern argues that by empathizing with patients, rather than detaching, physicians can best help them. Yet there is no consistent view of what, precisely, clinical empathy involves. This book challenges the traditional assumption that empathy is either purely intellectual or an expression of sympathy. Sympathy, according to many physicians, involves over-identifying with patients, threatening objectivity and respect for patient autonomy.
How can doctors use empathy in diagnosing and treating patients rithout jeopardizing objectivity or projecting their values onto patients? Jodi Halpern, a psychiatrist, medical ethicist and philosopher, develops a groundbreaking account of emotional reasoning as the core of clinical empathy. She argues that empathy cannot be based on detached reasoning because it involves emotional skills, including associating with another person's images and spontaneously following another's mood shifts. Yet she argues that these emotional links need not lead to over-identifying with patients or other lapses in rationality but rather can inform medical judgement in ways that detached reasoning cannot. For reflective physicians and discerning patients, this book provides a road map for cultivating empathy in medical practice. For a more general audience, it addresses a basic human question: how can one person's emotions lead to an understanding of how another person is feeling?
- Oxford University Press, USA
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 9.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.90(d)
Table of Contents
1. Failures of Emotional Communication in Medical Practice
2. Managing Emotions as a Professional Ideal
3. Emotional Reasoning
4. The Concept of Clinical Empathy
5. Respecting Patient Autonomy: From Non-Interference to Empathy
6. Cultivating Empathy in Medical Practice
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From Detached Concern to Empathy by Jodi Halpern is an excellent book that explores the impact that clinicians have on their patients' experiences. This is a thick read, with philosophical discussions around empathy, sympathy, and the role of the clinician in modern healthcare settings. Should we maintain a cold, clinical view of our patients in order to make sound judgements in their care? Should we try to change our patients' minds if their choice does not support continuing to fight for life? Or do we respectfully comply with their decision? This thought-provoking book would be a fantastic book for new clinicians, including medical and nursing students, or for the philosophical reader.