Between Sickness and Health is about illness rather than disease, and recovery rather than cure. The book argues that illness is an experience, represented by the feeling that ‘I am not myself’. From the book’s phenomenological point of view, feelings of illness cannot be ‘unreal’ or ‘fake’, whatever their biological basis, nor need they be categorised as ‘physical’, ‘psychosomatic’ or ‘psychiatric’.
The book challenges the disease-centred ethos of medicine and medical education. It demonstrates that a clearer conception of illness, as distinct from disease, is therapeutic. The feeling that ‘I am once again myself’ can return, in some degree, whatever state the body is in. Resilience becomes more available when it is seen as a set of personal skills that can be developed, rather than as an inborn trait. Possibilities of wellness are enhanced by recognising that medical and other therapies can either support or impede recovery, as can human relationships and the socio-political environment.
The book’s many clinical examples are drawn from the author’s broad experience as a neurologist, rehabilitation physician and systemic family therapist. Between Sickness and Health will be useful for students, practitioners and academics, and also for anyone who has been or might one day be ill.
Table of Contents
A note to patients, clients and families
PART I: Illness
PART II: Recovery
11 A Doctor’s Note
Christopher D. Ward is Emeritus Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Nottingham, UK. He is also a UKCP-accredited systemic psychotherapist. He edited Meanings of ME: Interpersonal and Social Dimensions of Chronic Fatigue, 2015.