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    The use of an object: exploring physician burnout through object relations theory

    Winning, Jo (2023) The use of an object: exploring physician burnout through object relations theory. BMJ Medical Humanities 49 (3), pp. 340-346. ISSN 1468-215X.

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    The crisis of physician burnout has been widely and repeatedly reported across the mainstream press and medical journals around the world, in the closing years of the second decade of the 21st century. Despite multiple systematic reviews and commentary on the scale of this ‘global epidemic’, understandings of both the phenomenon and the most effective interventions remain limited. Practice-based medical humanities represents the collaborative sharing of conceptual tools for understanding illness and clinical practice and the shouldering of responsibility for mapping the shape of care, in all its local, national and global contexts, thinking-with rather than critique on the profession and its practices. In keeping with this approach, this article offers a new perspective on the contemporary crisis of physician burnout by exploring the objectification of the clinician’s body within the systems and practice of healthcare. Within the context of medical humanities’ scholarship, discussions of objectification usually navigate towards a discussion about patient identity and its potentially reductive objectification within the frameworks of biomedical science. However, this article crosses the cultural divide between clinician and patient, and comes to focus on the objectification of the clinician herself, using object relations theory from the field of psychoanalysis to excavate the psychodynamics of care and their impact on clinicians, and the systems of healthcare in which care is delivered.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Medical Humanities, Centre for
    Depositing User: Jo Winning
    Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2020 06:51
    Last Modified: 26 Oct 2023 18:14


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