“Relationship Power in Health Care” – A new book confirms the importance of relationship-skills

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As the cartoon says, ‘Relationships Have Power.’ Unfortunately not much when a health professional’s relationship is with your electronic record – not you.

Relationship Power in Health Care: Science of Behavior Change, Decision-Making and Clinician Self-Care is a new book by John B Livingstone MD and Joanne Gaffney RN, LICSW. This cartoon is from the book.

I’ve just started to skim this text book and it excites me for two reasons. 1) It’s about my favorite topic – the seminal importance of relationship between provider and patient. 2) The book is a declaration, based on much research and professional experience, that the relationship in healthcare between provider and patient is an integral part of successful outcomes and healing. And, that medical training all but leaves this out of the curriculum.

This book’s authors are extremely learned, with both medical and therapy backgrounds, and aim to equip health professionals to work constructively with patients, taking into account that patients are whole human beings. That while we don’t see it on display, we come into the exam room an entire library of personal beliefs, memories, experiences and cognitions.

I don’t know how successful a book can be in this mission, but it’s recognition how grossly needed relationship skills are.


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