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Cool intimacies of care for contemporary clinical practice.

Atkinson, S. and Macnaughton, J. and Saunders, C. and Evans, M. (2010) 'Cool intimacies of care for contemporary clinical practice.', The lancet., 376 (9754). pp. 1732-1733.


The practices of medicine across history and culture illuminate the centrality of the physical intimacy of touch in the expression of the healer's care. Yet much of modern western medicine diminishes the value of intimacy in the expertise of the clinician, and marginalises emotionally inflected practices into categories of care that are separate from the expertise of the clinician. Can such a divide between the objectifying clinical gaze and the intimacy of emotional care be made without losing something vital to the therapeutic processes of healing? To reinvigorate debate about the place of intimacy for contemporary clinical practice, we look back to medieval literature, which illuminates two traditions in understanding intimacy and its interconnections with healing. One of these traditions has become dominant in modern health care; we call for a re-engagement with the second in contemporary clinical practice.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in The Lancet. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in The Lancet, 376, 9754, 2010, 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)62123-X
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:03 July 2012
Date of first online publication:November 2010
Date first made open access:No date available

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