The ability to understand the patient and what the patient tries to communicate is essential for practicing medicine. We need a theory for this process of understanding in the clinical reality in order to make the best possible use of (the ever increasing) biomedical knowledge.
Clinical biomedicine only covers parts of the GP’s work. The biomedical thinking must be put into a context with a focus on understanding patients in their narrative and biographical situation and in a relationship with the health care professional.
During the last decade the concept of PCM has gained footing, in a clinical as well as in an academic context, to meet the challenges of the changing conditions of primary care. The concept has been used in a humanistic sense, but also to signify an individualized biomedical approach. In addition, the concept of PCM overlaps with related concepts such as patient-centredness (PC).
Narrative medicine is considered to capture the dimension of understanding, but also adds other aspects. Mentalization is a newer concept, developed in psychology during the last decades, to describe the understanding in professional relationships. Mentalization takes its point of departure in a narrative context and in this way links can be formed to narrative medicine.
In order to discuss the dimension of understanding patients in our clinical work we must formulate a theoretical approach and define relevant concepts. Our professional identity needs to incorporate both the biomedical, and the dimensions of understanding and relating to patients as persons. If we cannot formulate this important aspect and discuss it theoretically as well as in the clinical setting we miss one of the core values of Family Medicine
We will explore the concept of PCM and related concepts and approaches as a core value of Family Medicine and subsequently discuss how these concepts apply to the understanding of patients in the daily clinical work in general practice
Four different presentations with a point of departure in the above mentioned concepts and subsequent discussion of related concepts to come to a common understanding that is useful in general practice Each of the above mentioned concepts including clinical examples will be presented and followed by discussion.