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Research Article  |   September 1993
The Depersonalization of Patients: A Profile Gleaned from Narratives
Author Affiliations
  • Suzanne M. Peloquin, PhD, OTR, is Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health Sciences, J-28, 11th and Mechanic Street, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, Texas 77555–1028
Article Information
Health and Wellness / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Practice
Research Article   |   September 1993
The Depersonalization of Patients: A Profile Gleaned from Narratives
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 1993, Vol. 47, 830-837. doi:10.5014/ajot.47.9.830
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 1993, Vol. 47, 830-837. doi:10.5014/ajot.47.9.830
Abstract

Occupational therapists who would better understand and advocate against depersonalization in health care can find specific references in narratives to the attitudes and behaviors that seem problematic. Patients argue that helpers fail to recognize that illness and disability are events charged with personal meaning. Instead of communicating with patients, helpers establish a distance that diminishes them. They withhold information in a manner that precludes hope, they use brusque manners, and they misuse their powers. Each of these behaviors seems unreasonable and impersonal, and each discourages patients. Together these narratives might inspire therapists to value interactive reasoning as central to practice, to recommit to their consideration of persons, and to enact a climate of caring.