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2Relationship Centered Health Care,

By Francesc Borrell-carrió, Anthony L. Suchman Md and Ronald M. Epstein Md


The biopsychosocial model is both a philosophy of clinical care and a practical clinical guide. Philosophically, it is a way of understanding how suffering, disease, and illness are affected by multiple levels of organization, from the societal to the molecular. At the practical level, it is a way of understanding the patient’s subjective experience as an essential contributor to accurate diagnosis, health outcomes, and humane care. In this article, we defend the biopsychosocial model as a necessary contribution to the scientifi c clinical method, while suggesting 3 clarifi cations: (1) the relationship between mental and physical aspects of health is complex—subjective experience depends on but is not reducible to laws of physiology; (2) models of circular causality must be tempered by linear approximations when considering treatment options; and (3) promoting a more participatory clinicianpatient relationship is in keeping with current Western cultural tendencies, but may not be universally accepted. We propose a biopsychosocial-oriented clinical practice whose pillars include (1) self-awareness; (2) active cultivation of trust; (3) a

Year: 2009
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