Empathy and the failure to treat pain Journal Article


Authors: Passik, S. D.; Byers, K.; Kirsh, K. L.
Article Title: Empathy and the failure to treat pain
Abstract: We set out to discuss the psychological barriers that exist in the treatment of pain. Specifically, we argue that clinicians have several innate mechanisms at play that can hinder their judgment and lead to erroneous assumptions about their patients. Issues are discussed from social psychological and psychodynamic perspectives. A focus is placed on the issue of empathy and how this, too, can act as a barrier to rational judgment when evaluating patients. In the face of growing scrutiny on pain management in the United States, it is important to understand the barriers to providing care that already exist on an intrinsic level. Through the exploration of these barriers, clinicians might be better able to reflect on their own practice. Ultimately, we hope to push forward an agenda of rational therapy in pain management that utilizes safeguards against abuse and addiction while also preserving treatment modalities for patients in need of services. © 2007 Cambridge University Press.
Keywords: note; pain; doctor patient relation; empathy; physician-patient relations; attitude of health personnel; health personnel attitude; barriers; undertreatment
Journal Title: Palliative and Supportive Care
Volume: 5
Issue: 2
ISSN: 1478-9515
Publisher: Cambridge University Press  
Date Published: 2007-06-01
Start Page: 167
End Page: 172
Language: English
DOI: 10.1017/s1478951507070241
PUBMED: 17578068
PROVIDER: scopus
DOI/URL:
Notes: --- - "Cited By (since 1996): 7" - "Export Date: 17 November 2011" - "Source: Scopus"
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  1. Karen Byers
    2 Byers
  2. Steven D Passik
    122 Passik