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Health Commun. 2018 Jun 20:1-9. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2018.1489201. [Epub ahead of print]

The Provider's Body in the Therapeutic Relationship: How Complementary and Alternative Medicine Providers Describe Their Work as Healers.

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a 272 FH Department of Communication Arts, Fulton School of Liberal Arts , Salisbury University.


Although the body is central to health outcomes, the provider's body has been largely absent in the provider-patient relationship. Drawing upon semi-structured interviews with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) providers (N = 17), this study examines how CAM providers use their body to characterize their work as healers. The findings suggest the provider's self-reflexive awareness of their own body's illness and faith experiences informs their understanding of the patients' experience of health and disease. The study foregrounds the intersubjective nature of the provider-patient relationship as an embodied interaction in the mutual construction of therapeutic goals. Provider reflection on their own bodies to make sense of their patients' experiences emphasizes provider-patient coproduction of meaning and suggests ways for including the provider's self-reflexive awareness of their own body in a patient-centered healthcare relationship in ways that benefit both the patient and the provider.

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