Title

Working with suffering

PubMed ID

12220749

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Date

9-2002

Document Type

Article

Subjects

*Homicide; Humans; Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic; *Work

Disciplines

Community Health | Other Medical Specialties | Preventative Medicine

Abstract

The past century has shown that human beings are capable of genocidal destruction of millions of other humans based on ethnicity or race. Clinicians today are likely to encounter patients who are survivors of inflicted atrocities and abuse. People fleeing horrendous circumstances bring persisting memories that produce symptoms even for the next generation. Families carry the knowledge-personal, cultural, familial, and sometimes individual-of the depths of destruction that human beings can do to one another. Suffering derives from the memory, both physical and mental, of what other persons inflicted; it has multiple dimensions that patients may not express explicitly; instead they may frame their experience of suffering in terms of pain. Diagnostic labels such as post-traumatic stress disorder or somatization are inadequate to convey human comprehension of suffering. Clinicians around the world need to be willing and able to acknowledge and witness the profound sources of experiential pain in the lives of their patients.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Patient Educ Couns. 2002 Sep;48(1):43-50. Link to article on publisher's website

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed