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Editor's Correspondence
October 8, 2007

Religious Bias Colors Physicians’ Views

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2007 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2007

Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(18):2007. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.18.2007-a

In their article, Curlin et al1 point out that physicians are not just objective, neutral scientists but that their own ideas of religion and spirituality influence the way physicians respond to patients’ ideas of religion and spirituality.

I agree wholeheartedly with the research comments and conclusions. As a chaplain and certified supervisor of the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), I have taught many years using a process education model for ministers and chaplain trainees. Any educational process about communication with another has to deal with certain realities. A good clinician has to maintain clear boundaries between what he or she believes and what the client believes. A heightened awareness of one's own preconceived ideas and of course one's own biases and blind spots is essential for accurate communication and treatment. These issues and dynamics may be understood by understanding some of the basic terms of modern psychology, such as transference, countertransference, and projection.

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