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Holistic medicine for health professionals especially--a thoughtful and practical discussion of how we can ""take advantage of the benefits of science and technology without losing our human values in the process."" Remen, a pediatrician, developed her suggestions from work done at the Institute for the Study of Humanistic Medicine (San Francisco); and the specific techniques that she proposes are drawn from principles in ethics, sociology, education, and of course psychology. She stresses making a true diagnosis--rather than affixing a diagnostic label--which includes an estimation of a person's strengths; she looks at what can be learned from each illness about possible changes in one's life; but she reminds advocates of patient-involvement that ""being able to choose freely. . . is not sufficient to promote health--patients must be given the tools to choose wisely."" And she illustrates each of her points with graphic and often moving stories of her own cases. She's sensitive, also, to the often forgotten personal needs of health professionals. They may habitually see themselves, she notes, in a way which says that certain aspects of their humanity--caring, empathy, insight--are not as important as their diagnostic skills; and she explores ways in which they can retrieve and sharpen their human skills. Remen is concerned, altogether, not with structural revisions of the health care system but with understanding and attacking its fundamental problems.

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 1980
Publisher: Anchor/Doubleday