Monday, March 21, 2016

Trap in empathy (3)

You may feel close to a physician who also had an experience of waist pain. But you will not feel appropriate for a psychiatrist to tell you that he had a suicidal thought in the past. If you agree with this ideas, what is the difference between them?

Trap in empathy (1)
Trap in empathy (2)

There are three potential answers:
(1) It is merely due to your discrimination for psychiatric symptoms. As physicians can talk about their own experience with their physical health, psychiatrists should be permitted to talk about their psychiatric symptoms which they suffered previously.
(2) It is wrong that physicians are allowed to disclose their personal thoughts. Professional workers should avoid all of the private talks without exceptions.
(3) There is some differences between physical experience and psychiatric symptoms. Discussing these matters in the same way is improper.

Which answers do you choose? I guess many select (3) intuitively.

I am not willing to deal with psychiatry as distinguished from any other science. But, it is true that generalizability of psychiatric symptoms is lower than physical ones. For example, every person has an experience of a toothache. Most people understand the pain of bone fracture. On the contrary, hallucination and suicidal thought are somehow difficult to imagine for healthy people. Therefore, you tend to identify the person explaining the psychiatric symptoms he experienced as an alien rather than a friend.

Substantially, each person’s symptoms cannot be generalized. Even if the physician was relieved from the waist pain by a remedy, it is quite unsure this solution can be adapted to the patient in front of the physician. Nonetheless, we are likely to trust the words of whom have similar experiences. On the other hand, psychiatric symptoms are more difficult than psychical sense to share with each other. It is the reason the importance empathy is often discussed in the context of psychiatry.

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