Increasingly, doctors are looking for ways to treat the whole patient--mind, body, and spirit, disease and illness. To accomplish this, doctors must establish authentic relationships with their patients--that is, relationships in which the life experiences and knowledge of both participants are acknowledged and respected. Physicians must be aware of everything they bring, both as persons and as professionals, to every clinical encounter. In this article, the authors discuss a hypothetical case of a teenaged girl suffering from recurrent coldsores and the possible ways her physician might handle her case. They analyze the differences among the three scenarios, using them to highlight ways physicians can work to achieve authentic and mutually beneficial relationships with the people in their care.