Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Editorial: Human Responses to Pain: A Global Perspective

Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Editorial: Human Responses to Pain: A Global Perspective

Article excerpt

What is the human response to pain? Pain is an experience that we all share and as we grow older, we will experience more aches and pains personally and bear witness to the pain and suffering experiences of others. Technology brings the painful experiences of others to us via our televisions and computer screens. We are inundated with images of pain from around the world day after day. As we view more and more pain and suffering, it is important to ask the question, "What has been our response to the suffering that we see?"

As I reflect on my own responses to the pain and suffering of others, I must ask the question, " Did I do no harm and try to do good?" Or, did I underestimate a colleague's complaint of psychological pain and burnout? What about the pain that results from feeling oppressed? Another colleague shared with me her experience with chest pain which was precipitated by confrontations with her supervisor at work. How do we respond to the pain that comes from work environments that reflect a hostile, racist, and sexist society? If we are unresponsive to physical pain, then we are probably unresponsive to the pain that originates from geopolitical factors.

For those of us in the helping professions, i.e., education, nursing, medicine, social work, ministry, etc., employing ethical principles of "doing no harm" and "doing good" are critical because we present ourselves as "helpers" to the public. When we fail to adequately assess and diagnose the pain and suffering of others, we are at risk of "doing harm" and our ability to "do good" is hindered. …

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