1st Edition

The Meaning of Illness

By Marc Auge, Claudine Herzlich Copyright 1988

    First Published in 1988. The Meaning of Illness offers new ways of understanding the nature of disease and explores the idea that health and illness have a special interdependence. Experiences which illness brings to our attention -limitation, vulnerability and dependence - are explored here as inescapable and valuable dimensions to human existence which we ignore at our peril. The contributors include medical practitioners and consultants, psychotherapists, Jungian analysts, a homoeopath, an acupuncturist, and two women actively involved in self-help. They have few illusions about the pain, terror and suffering caused by illness, yet convey a shared sense, expressed in many different ways, that illness needs to be rescued from its exclusively negative connotations. Their contributions approach the phenomenon of illness not just as a curse, but as a potential gift. In particular, they explore the function illness can play as a message-bearer from the world of the neglected unconscious, and as an agent of consciousness and change. This challenge to the familiar mechanistic medical model is part of a wider re-evaluation of the modern Western world-view - especially the problem-solving approach to healing, and accepted notions of limitless progress. The Meaning of Illness is relevant to all those whose lives are touched by illness, and is particularly important for those in the medical and caring professions.

    Chapter 1 Introduction, MARK KIDEL; Chapter 2 Illness and meaning, MARK KIDEL; Chapter 3 Items and motion, PETER TATHAM; Chapter 4 Heart abuse, ELIZABETH WILDE McCORMICK; Chapter 5 The doctor versus King Canute: from Georg Groddeck to family therapy, SEBASTIAN KRAEMER; Chapter 6 Health and illness in Chinese society, ROGER HILL; Chapter 7 The meaning of illness: the homoeopathic approach, MISHA NORLAND; Chapter 8 The patient as healer: how we can take part in our own recovery, PAT KITTO; Chapter 9 ‘No, I can’t do that, my consultant wouldn’t like it’ ..., JO SPENCE; Chapter 10 No answer to Job: reflections on the limitations of meaning in illness, ADOLF GUGGENBÜHL-CRAIG, NIEL MICKLEM; Chapter 11 Morbistic rituals, ALFRED J. ZIEGLER;


    Auge, Marc; Herzlich, Claudine