In spite of the fact that there are scientific definitions concerning different personality types, the practice of life shows that many personality traits are subject to change in various life situations. One area where this happens concerns the personality relationships between a physician who is administering treatment and a patient who is being treated; such relationships are very complex. The patient wants to trust the doctor and to believe that the latter will do everything to restore his health. For many patients, this trust in the doctor has a curative power. On the other hand, a doctor who has respect for human suffering will show this to his patient through his words, through his behaviour, and above all through an attitude towards the patient in which he clearly indicates that he wants and is able to help the patient. Nowadays, however, medical treatment is undergoing major changes as a result of the advances in science and technology, as well as in view of the changes in culture, morals and modes of thinking. We are thus moving from a culture of thought to a culture of pictures, i.e. a situation where everybody knows everything but understands nothing. Humanistic relationships between the doctor and his patient are in the course of disappearing, the authority of the doctor is diminishing, and the traditional view of the doctor as a master with a magical capacity to act is practically non-existent; and so the strength of the personality of both the doctor and the patient has no role to play at all. Thus, the advances of science and medicine, instead of uniting doctors in joint action for the benefit of the patient, have led, through administrative decisions, to dividing up the patient into organs, and also dividing the doctors into superior and inferior categories. The role and importance of a doctor as caretaker and friend of the patient has been neglected, and the patient has become only an object of research and treatment without recourse to his personality. For a number of important reasons, a return to the humanistic principles behind the relationships between the patient and his doctor will be very difficult, and will require the proper education of both the whole society and the doctors themselves.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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