(Re)acting medicine: applying theatre in order to develop a whole-systems approach to understanding the healing response

S. Goldingay, P. Dieppe, M. Mangan & D. Marsden

This critical reflection is based on the belief that creative practitioners should be using their own well-established approaches to trouble dominant paradigms in health and care provision to both form and inform the future of healing provision and well-being creation. It describes work by a transdisciplinary team (drama and medicine) that is developing a methodology which is rooted in productive difference; an evolving synergy between two cultural and intellectual traditions with significant divergences in their world-view perceptions, approaches and training methods. This commonality is underpinned by four assumptions that: (1) human-to-human interactions matter, (2) context matters, (3) the whole person and their community matters and (4) interpretation matters. In this paper, we reflect on the project’s early stages and uses of this methodology to investigate the fundamental human-to-human interaction of a person seeking healing (a healee) with a healer. We believe that this interaction enables the healing response – the intrinsic ability of the human organism to self-heal and regain homeostasis.

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