Self and Other Through the Prism of AIDS: A Literary Examination of Relationships with Patients.

Johanna Shapiro, PhD

This article examines how the “non-ill,” often formal or informal caregivers, structure their relationships with “the ill,” using as a specific example the disease of AIDS; and as a specific analytic tool selections of fictional writing. An introductory rationale explores why literature may be well-suited to helping us understand value-laden issues such as relationship. Discussion then focuses on how the professional and personal Self is identified and defined in relation to the suffering Other, through the development of concepts such as threat and boundary work. The concluding section suggests alternative relational models derived from more fluid and permeable definitions of Self and Other.

Read the full article