Understanding the Placebo Effect in Complementary Medicine: Theory, Practice, and Research

By David Peters | Go to book overview

8
Intersubjectivity and the therapeutic
relationship
Janet Richardson
Theoretical approaches that support an intersubjective science
The patient assessment: process, research and clinical practice
History taking
The illness experience and its meaning
Empathy and intersubjectivity in clinical practice
Empathy
Storytelling
Engagement in therapeutic relationships
Being present and the healing effect
Touch
The healing relationship
Synthesis: the relationship of research and theory to clinical practice
Healing models
Use of narrative
Healers' personal qualities

Editor's note

Everyday clinical work leaves us in no doubt that practitioners who can create a therapeutic relationship add value to the therapeutic process. Nowhere is the contact between practitioner and patient more intense, prolonged and intimate than in nursing. We can understand then why so many writers in this field have thought about the therapeutic relationship. Nurses have also been at the forefront of a mainstream resurgence in touch-based therapies; many thousands of nurses in the UK have learned these approaches. Janet Richardson embodies all these concerns through her work in nursing development and teaching. At the time of writing she is also Chair of the Research Council for Complementary Medicine and recently based her doctoral thesis on an evaluation of the NHS Complementary Therapies Unit she helped set up for the Lewisham Hospital Trust in south-east London. Her chapter, exploring the overlap between nursing theory, touch, the therapeutic relationship and complementary therapies, indicates their common concern for a capacity to generate a 'shared space'. Practitioners from all fields will have their own experiences of shared consciousness and empathic moments; Janet's examples are from nursing and she sees them through the lens of nursing theory. Seeking to understand ways of optimizing what she calls 'the healing relationship', she highlights skilled use of narrative, empathy and openness. Janet sees them all as ways to create what she calls 'shared space' and she leaves open the question of whether this is just a

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