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March 6, 2002

Physicians' Feelings About Themselves and Their Patients

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2002;287(9):1113-1114. doi:10.1001/jama.287.9.1109

To the Editor: Dr Meier and colleagues1 describe a model for assisting physicians to maximize their patients' and their own well-being. Their approach identifies risk factors, signs and symptoms, differential diagnosis, and intervention strategies for physicians to use as a guide toward identifying and addressing emotional distress. Yet application of these standard medical principles to emotional dynamics does not allow for deeper exploration of emotion. The medicalization of emotion in this context may, for some, create yet another wall for physicians to stand behind when emotions threaten to overwhelm them. In other words, use of a medical approach may actually strengthen the barriers this model seeks to alleviate.