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Emotion in Interaction$
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Anssi Perakyla and Marja-Leena Sorjonen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730735

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730735.001.0001

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Knowledge, Empathy, and Emotion in a Medical Encounter

Knowledge, Empathy, and Emotion in a Medical Encounter

(p.256) Chapter 12 Knowledge, Empathy, and Emotion in a Medical Encounter
Emotion in Interaction

John Heritage

Anna Lindström

Oxford University Press

Building upon Sacks’ ideas concerning the social organization of subjective experience, this chapter presents a case study on the ways in which a British community nurse responds to her client’s disclosures concerning difficulties in bonding with her newborn daughter. Over a series of weekly home visits, the nurse attempts to reassure her client that she will soon form an appropriate emotional connection with her child. Initially, she offers generalised statements about the future course of the mother-child bond, but later on, she addresses the mother’s experience more directly, also offering empathic parallels between the mother’s situation and her own experience of similar concerns after the birth of her son. While the mother responds to the generalized statements in a minimal fashion, she receives the empathic parallels in a full hearted manner.

Keywords:   experience, knowledge, medicine, nursing, depression, anxiety, health visiting

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