Peter Shoenberg & Jessica Yakeley: Learning about Emotions in Illness

Peter Shoenberg & Jessica Yakeley (eds) (2014)

Learning about Emotions in Illness: Integrating Psychotherapeutic Teaching into Medical Education 

Routledge, 2014. 156 pp, ISBN: 9780415644907.



From a review by Paramabandhu Groves:

“I found myself reflecting on my emotional response to the book – I was moved, and surprised at being moved. Partly, it reminded me of my own time as a medical student participating in the student psychotherapy scheme, which gave me my first opportunity of being useful as a trainee doctor, as opposed to being someone in the way… Partly, I was simply moved by some of the accounts of people who as students had participated in either of the schemes described in the book, as they grappled with their own and their patients’ emotional responses, especially to physical illness… The book describes two approaches aimed at helping students learn how psychotherapeutic understanding can help them with their patients: the student psychotherapy scheme and student Balint groups. There are accounts of the scheme both from its supervisors and from participants, and there is also a chapter on research into the two schemes. … the real value of these schemes is in helping to develop doctors who can tolerate difficult emotions that arise in patient–doctor interactions and to be alive to the often unspoken emotions that our patients communicate. In other words, regardless of specialty, to make better doctors.”

BJPsych Bull. 2015 Jun; 39(3): 150. doi: 10.1192/pb.bp.114.048785