Friday, May 6, 2011

Dialog is vital in healing relationships

A person can not be understood as a solitary unit separate from all other beings. One of my favorite writers and thinkers is Martin Buber. He speaks of the contrasting spheres of human existence by usig the simple and understandable categories, I-It and I-Thou. The categories can be used to show the importance of genuine meetings on psychological healing. The suffering person may choose to escape into a world full of distancing one self from other, manipulation, and objectification, by acting in a dysfunctional manner with others. Healing requires a radical discovery; a momet of surprize. The sufferer needs to be take off guard by the freedom one experiences in being an authentic subject in the presence of the other, rather than remaining the object in the past. The extent of healing will depend on the healer's capacity to sustain the unexpected in relaation to the sufferer.

Buber writes in his book The Knowledge of Man (1965) that: The inmost growth of the self is not accomplished, as people like to suppose today, in relation to onself, but in the relation between the one and the other. Secretly and bashfully a person watches for a YES which allows one to be and which can som only from one human person to another. It is from one person to another thet the heavenly bread of self-being is passed (p.71).

This statement expresses the essence of Buber's relational view of the person. He goes on to consider the dialogical space that is opened when persons relate to each other in I-Thou terms: The meaning is to be found neither in one of the two partners nor in both together, but in their dialogue itself, in this `between´ which they live together (p.75).

Buber defines the "between" as the inter-subjective sphere, the space where two individuals meet. The self is constructed in the inter-subjective sphere and it is here that healing also takes place. Buber's philosophy of the dialog constitutes a radical departure from the individualistic notion of the person by viewing the person in relational and dialogical terms.

Current medical practice is often situated in the I-It realm of order; it focuses on objectivity, detachment, abstraction, and experience. Buber describes the possibility of a therapeutic relationship that comes very close to the realm of I-Thou meetings. Buber's thought suggests three conceptual shifts that facilitate the development of therapeutic relationships in medical practice and have implications for medical education:
1.From disease-sentered to person-centered pratice
2.From Crisis to everyday management
3.From principles and contracts to relationships.

Dialog is vital in healing relationships.The helper cannot heal, in the broad sense of the term, and the person who suffers cannot be healed, withou dialog. Dialog goes beyond mere verbal exchange, because it entails really listening to one another and even seeking the opportunity to listen

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