, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 169-170
Date: 13 Feb 2014

The significance of relatedness in healthcare

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The tradition of anthropological medicine in the first half of the twentieth century regarded medicine first of all as a relational activity. Its aim was to develop medicine as a science of human beings, building on the ideas of phenomenology, existentialism and philosophical anthropology (Ten Have 1995). Rather than applying the findings of scientific disciplines such as biology, genetics, chemistry or physics to human beings, following strict methodological rules or operating as a practical art, anthropological medicine emphasized the personal qualities of the healthcare professional and acknowledged the subjectivity of patients and doctor, medicine being in between science and art. How to create a genuinely humane medicine and physiology was the major challenge for Buytendijk (Dekkers 1995). Crucial notions in his work are ‘relation’ and ‘relatedness.’ Medicine essentially is a relational activity. It is basically characterized by what we nowadays would call connectivity. Another b