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Medicine and Health Sciences

University of Massachusetts Medical School

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Empathy As A Hermeneutic Practice, Ellen S. More Sep 1996

Empathy As A Hermeneutic Practice, Ellen S. More

Library Publications

This essay will argue for the centrality of empathy in the doctor-patient relationship-as a core of ethically sound, responsible therapeutics. By "empathy," I intend an explicitly hermeneutic practice, informed by a reflexive understanding of patient and self. After providing an overview of the history of the concept of empathy in clinical medicine, I discuss current definitions and the use of Balint groups in residency training as a way to develop empathic competence in novice physicians.