The mystification of meaning: doctor-patient encounters

J Med Educ. 1976 Sep;51(09):716-25. doi: 10.1097/00001888-197609000-00002.


The symbolic and communicative aspects of illness and treatment are examined. A number of factors that complicate interpersonal communication are identified and found to exist in their most extreme form in medical settings. New directions in research and training are suggested that might prepare medical personnel to respond more sensitively and flexibly to the symbolic aspects of illness.

MeSH terms

  • California
  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Physician-Patient Relations*