Friendship and the Virtues in Physical Therapy

Abstract

Is philosophical friendship a helpful category that should inform the doctor-patient relationship found in the practice of physical therapy? In general, the answer is yes. Learning from friendship and the virtues it cultivates may be beneficial to the unique doctor-patient relationship within physical therapy; it results in delivering a medically ethical, holistic patient-centered care, while simultaneously emphasizing personable, virtuous, and Christian principles. Friendship is a practice that should be encouraged for Christian physical therapists to utilize, as it ultimately fulfills both patient and doctor’s needs, and provides higher quality care by fostering virtues. In this thesis, I first detail Dr. Edmund D. Pellegrino’s work on the doctor-patient relationship, and the larger considerations of a patient-centered medical model in the field of physical therapy. I then investigate how friendship is understood by Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics and is further enriched by Christians who extended the Greek conception of friendship. Finally, I discuss the practicality, application, and clinical benefit of three indispensable virtues in the field of physical therapy: compassion, attentiveness, and trust.

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Keywords

Physical therapy., Virtues., Friendship., Philosophy of friendship., Christian., God., Medical humanities., Doctor-patient relationship., Therapeutic alliance., Physical therapist-patient relationship., Therapist-patient relationship., Medical ethics., Christian personalism., Patient-centered care., Aristotle., Compassion., Attentiveness., Trustworthiness., Trust., Medicine., Bioethics., Christian friendship., Aristotelian friendship., Aristotelian virtue., Healing relationship., Internal morality of medicine., Fact of illness., Wounded humanity., Act of profession., Act of medicine., Morality., Jesus Christ., Special Partnership., E.D. Pellegrino., Paul Wadell., For the patient's good., Edmund D. Pellegrino., Telos., Eudaimonia., The virtuous life., Paul J. Wadell., Doctor., Patient., Physical therapist., Person-centered care., Patient-as-person., Doctor-as-person., Philosophy., Theology.

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