Does Medical Education Promote Professional Alexithymia? A Call for Attending to the Emotions of Patients and Self in Medical Training

Johanna Shapiro, Ph.D.

Not surprisingly, medical students confront an array of intense emotions in both themselves and their patients over the course of their medical education. Students experience intellectual and cognitive pressures because of the vast quantities of knowledge they must assimilate. They undergo significant physical stress associated with long hours and lack of sleep. Perhaps most challenging, they have daily contact with, and increasing responsibility for, suffering patients and families who themselves are often experiencing intense emotions.

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