Existential Health Psychology

The Blind-spot in Healthcare

  • Patrick M. Whitehead

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Patrick M. Whitehead
    Pages 1-12
  3. Patrick M. Whitehead
    Pages 13-23
  4. Patrick M. Whitehead
    Pages 25-37
  5. Patrick M. Whitehead
    Pages 39-52
  6. Patrick M. Whitehead
    Pages 53-62
  7. Patrick M. Whitehead
    Pages 63-73
  8. Patrick M. Whitehead
    Pages 75-88
  9. Patrick M. Whitehead
    Pages 89-97
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 111-117

About this book


“Patrick Whitehead offers a timely expose of a glaring omission in Western healthcare. The Blind Spot, which healthcare itself cannot see, is the human being and the sheer lived experience of the sufferer. Whitehead cogently argues why the experiential being needs to be reestablished in healthcare in this engaging text.” 

—Jonathan Gibson, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, USA.

"Drawing on the insights of existentialism and phenomenology, Patrick Whitehead exposes the reductive and dehumanizing tendencies in mainstream biomedicine. With clarity and succinctness, The Blind Spot illuminates the experience of illness and why it is so important for medical practitioners see the patient as a whole person rather than a broken object. This is an original and timely entry into the field of existential medicine and will appeal to a wide audience."

—Kevin Aho, PhD, Professor and Chair of Philosophy, Florida Gulf Coast University, USA, editor of Existential Medicine: Essays on Health and Illness (2018).

This volume critiques the increasingly reductive, objectifying, and technologized orientation in mainstream biomedicine. Drawing on the methods of hermeneutic phenomenology and existential analysis in the work of Martin Heidegger, Kurt Goldstein, Medard Boss, and Hans-Georg Gadamer, the author seeks to expose this lacuna and explore the ways in which it misrepresents (or misunderstands) the human condition. Whitehead begins by examining the core distinction in the sociology of medicine between “disease” and “illness” and how this distinction maps onto a more fundamental distinction between the corporeal/objective body and the experiential/lived body. Ultimately, the book exposes the tendency in modern medicine to medicalize the human condition and forwards a reorientation framed by what the author terms “existential health psychology.”

Patrick M. Whitehead, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Albany State University, USA.


Bio-mechanical Model Healthcare Medicalization Existential Health Psychology Health Psychology Medical Social Work Humanistic Psychology Existential Analysis

Authors and affiliations

  • Patrick M. Whitehead
    • 1
  1. 1.Sociology and PsychologyAlbany State UniversityAlbanyUSA

Bibliographic information