Encouraging the strengths of women patients. A case study from general practice on empowering dialogues

Scand J Public Health. 1999 Dec;27(4):254-9.


This case study illustrates how the use of empowering dialogues in general practice can contribute to alternative images of women, by identifying and emphasizing their strong points. It is a single case study, sampled theoretically from a series of 37 consultations during which key questions about self-assessed health resources were put to women patients. Two women GPs and their consultations were studied. An 18-min dialogue between a 52-year-old woman GP and a 69-year-old woman patient with asthma and back pain was audiotaped and transcribed according to Nessa's principles, supported by pragmatic linguistic theory. The woman's answers changed the doctor's perception of the patient, from that of a passive and resigned sufferer, to that of a strong woman who was active in spite of her pain. Acknowledging this, alternative paths of management could be chosen. In conclusion, disempowering medicalization of women patients can be opposed by resource oriented dialogues in clinical work. However, to change cultural images requires more than individual action.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Feminism*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Physicians, Women*
  • Power, Psychological
  • Women / psychology*