Use of Questioning between Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Patients to Realize TCM Philosophy: Holism, Five Elements and Yin-Yang in the Context of Doctor–Patient Communication

Jack Pun*, Winnie CHOR

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Adopting a broad discourse analytic approach, the present study investigates authentic interactions between Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners and patients in Hong Kong so as to identify specific characteristics of communication in this context, particularly how patients develop and internalize their understanding of illnesses in terms of ‘balance’ via the question–answer (Q-A) routine. Findings can improve our understanding of the role of doctor-patient negotiations and the effects of a practitioner’s questioning style on the patients’ ability to ‘internalize’ their understanding of their body conditions in the TCM context. While questioning is considered an important communication technique when soliciting patients’ problems during consultations, its value in terms of understanding patients’ concerns about issues other than their illnesses has not been explored. Based on consultations of 8 hours in length, our study finds that the use of questions not only can create a space wherein patients can discuss their illnesses and primary concerns, but also enable patients to gain a holistic understanding of their body conditions. This paper informs readers about the techniques that TCM practitioners can use to structure their conversations while delivering patient-centered care, including lexical, grammatical, and cultural resources.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Communication
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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