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A Narrative Transformation of Health and Healthcare 

A Narrative Transformation of Health and Healthcare
Chapter:
A Narrative Transformation of Health and Healthcare
Author(s):

Rita Charon

and Eric R. Marcus

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199360192.003.0013
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date: 22 January 2022

The co-authors of this chapter—an internist and a psychoanalyst—examine the situation of a patient whose care was enhanced by narrative methods of collaborative writing by physician and patient. In turns, the co-authors discuss psychoanalytic and narratological aspects of this clinical case. The analyst proposes that, in the care of medically ill patients, transference may occur not to the analyst but to the illness itself and that a stabilizing transitional space, as described by D.W. Winnicott, may open up within routine medical practice. The internist reviews concepts of creativity, reflexivity, and reciprocity as aspects of a narratively fortified practice. Together, they can unite patient and clinician in care for a specific episode of illness and can also create both participants’ reciprocal awareness of the inevitability of death to come, binding them in a powerful and lasting alliance as fellow humans facing mortality.

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