Empathy: In a Moment, a Powerful Therapeutic Tool

Tom Janisse, MD

Fall 2006 - Volume 10 Number 3

Conventional Objective Approach

Physicians are trained in the superiority of objective diagnosis and the use of physical agents for treatment effect. Historically, they are also trained to maintain maximum objectivity in patient encounters to ensure that cold, hard reason prevails in synthesizing symptom and event facts, physical examination findings, and laboratory and imaging tests. Prescribed treatment then takes the form of chemical agents, invasive procedures, or surgical intervention. While these bedrock methods have contributed greatly to the improvement of individual and public health, their success is predicated on the patient's acceptance of the diagnosis and treatment, and their adherence to the physician's recommendations. Furthermore, patients seeking medical care may not have a condition with a primary physical etiology, nor may they have the need for a primary physical treatment, nor do physical agents work best without the patient's optimization through belief and behavior.a


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