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Editor's Correspondence
January 28, 2008

Physician Self-disclosure

Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(2):242. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2007.85

The article on self-disclosure by McDaniel et al1 was a welcome acknowledgment of the importance of the topic. Beginning medical students, not appreciating the power of the question and lacking the technical knowledge to draw on, too readily fall back on personal experience and self-disclosure for material in speaking with patients. I have found it to be consistently helpful in only 1 situation: When a patient and medical student have shared a military experience, a bond is created that dissolves barriers to communication one might otherwise expect to be present.

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