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Theology Within the Patient–Clinician Relationship 

Theology Within the Patient–Clinician Relationship
Chapter:
Theology Within the Patient–Clinician Relationship
Author(s):

Michael J. Balboni

, and Tracy A. Balboni

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199325764.003.0010
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date: 18 August 2019

This chapter describes how there are distinct theological beliefs about the essence of personhood and that these views inform how clinicians inevitably see and engage patients. Dichotomizing the person into immaterial and material is at its root a claim concerning the essence of personhood, and this ultimately implies an underlying religious-like position concerning the presence or absence of a soul. While the intention of the sacred–secular divide was intended to create a neutral and nonreligious sphere, counterevidence suggests that this bifurcated structure is itself based on an unverifiable, religious-like position about human essence. Understanding these aspects of personhood in radical separation and independence has led to an imagining of the patient–clinician relationship in nonrelational terms focused predominantly on the material body. The chapter unearths implicit beliefs within this practice that are essentially theological, concerning the nature of personhood.

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