Gut Feeling: First the Belly, then the Stomach: Phenomenological Thinking in Medical Practice

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2014.0360-0366

german translation / full article

Harald Kamps, Dirk Harms

Keywords: Phenomenology Doctor-Patient-Communication Family Practice Encounter Clinical Knowledge

Summary: To find appropriate decisions in medical practice, doctors´ thinking can be deductive, inductive, but also abductive. The first approach solves a problem by applying (deducting from) a rule, the second approach combines a set of problems to search for the appropriate reaction and the third is an approach where gut feeling is in place. We find that the philosophy of new phenomenology developed by Hermann Schmitz leads to better solutions than the approach of abductive thinking. New phenomenology proposes an alphabet to describe sensed personal space and an alphabet to describe body sense. This terminology makes the division between physical or mental disease superfluous, because it enables to stay close to the experience of being a living body-bound person. Phenomenological thinking in medical practice seems to be an essential ability to complement reductionist theories of medicine. Its application is associated with an increase of vitality experienced in the relationship between patient and doctor. Yet rationalistic solutions, which undeniably brought us magnificent medical advances, find their place within the tone set by the meaning of personal life. We intend to stimulate curiosity about future case studies which demonstrate a different and new way of understanding work as a primary-care doctor.

(State: 13.05.2015)

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