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December 1980

Authoritative Physician, Not Authoritarian Father

Arch Intern Med. 1980;140(12):1576. doi:10.1001/archinte.1980.00330230022007

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The he physician who "wears his white coat" home at night will be a perplexed individual! Accustomed to respectful responses from patients and colleagues to his questions, examinations, decisions, and directions, the clinician discovers that his family may react differently. If he carries this pattern over into the home, he may be the surprised recipient of anger or rebellion. This authoritarian posture also protects him from sharing his uncertainties and humanness.

The parental role is dramatically different from the one that characterizes the physician-patient relationship. The physician must tell patients what to do. The patient expects to be cared for by the wise physician. The patient does not expect or want the physician to depend on him. However, the give-and-take between father and mother and children is based on the assumption that a mutual sharing of feelings is necessary. The naive or insensitive physician may be emotionally traumatized by family

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