In this article, published in 2007, Dr. Bishop writes eloquently of the metaphysics of medicine, referencing the works of Nietzsche, Foucault, Heidegger, and Deleuze, and how they relate to today’s biopsychosociologisms. He puts forth a compelling argument against the use of the humanities and narrative medicine as an add-on, or a compensation for the mechanisation of medicine. He writes of a continued dualism that no longer distinguishes the body from the mind, but instead focuses on the dichotomy between meanings and mechanisms.
Dr. Bishop reflects on the ever-increasing emphasis in the medical community on improving humanistic care. As physiotherapists, we are encouraged to develop relationships with patients, but as a means to an end. What is often most valued in the relationship is only another outcome – this time a “therapeutic alliance” that becomes yet another tool in the physiotherapist’s ‘toolbox’ – another way to manipulate and objectify a human subject. If, as Bishop suggests, a therapeutic alliance is just control under the guise of intimacy, what are we left to do? Reflecting on what is considered “patient-centered” care, physiotherapists should strongly consider the means, motives, and purpose of establishing the patient-therapist relationship.
Link to open access article: http://www.academia.edu/322335/Rejecting_Medical_Humanism_Medical_Humanities_and_the_Metaphysics_of_Medicine