A Visit to the Doctor: An Illustration of Implicit Meanings in the Doctor-Patient Relationship

Johanna Shapiro, PhD

This article examines in detail how various aspects of the “art of medicine” may be illustrated through analysis of a single case. An apparently inexplicable problem. i.e., inconsistent and chaotic health-care-seeking behavior of a mother on behalf of her multiply handicapped daughter, and the resultant marital tension and conflict. is shown to have deep roots in the psychologies and families of origin of both parents. Further, it becomes clear that the physician’s own emotional responses, in part related to his family-of-origin issues, play a critical role in determining the evolution of the doctor-patient relationship.

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