Protect Yourself From This

Johanna Shapiro, PhD
One of the central issues in medical education is how to respond to the suffering of others. Idealistic medical students think they will always respond with an altruistic approach impulse, in which they will naturally draw closer to the suffering other, feel empathy toward this other, and be moved to put the interests of the other above their own interests. Yet they may find that, more often than not, they exhibit an opposite, but equally strong, impulse to detach and separate from the contamination of others’ suffering.

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