Recovering Hope, Poetry and Connection in Health Care

Center for Courage & Renewal

This concept of holding tension between opposites, rather than trying to have one opposite (e.g., hope) overpower the other opposite (e.g., despair) allows for a complex and systemic approach to complex and systemic problems. The idea of tension being life-giving rather than something to get rid of reminds me of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung's approach to the problem of opposites, that there is a “unifying third” that unites the opposites into a higher order of meaning.

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Do We Have to Choose Between Quality and Compassion?

Creating Human Work Environments

There are many trends in health care these days, two of which focus on quality and compassion within the system. One can even speak of a Quality Revolution, given the strong emphasis this concept is currently receiving. Quality focuses on issues such as efficiency, safety, evidence-based medicine, decreasing treatment variability, and cost-containment. Quality is a growing focus in both the UK and the US.

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David KopaczArticles
Learning To Save the Self


This article is an expanded version of the presentation “Learning to Save the Self: Samuel Shem’s Portrayal of Trauma and Medical Education” which was given at the annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Washington D.C, November, 1998. It examines the defense patterns that are typical of exposure to trauma that lead to dehumanization of the self of both the doctor and the patient. It also looks at Shem’s prescription for saving the self through preserving humanity and human connection. 

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David Kopacz