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Education in person-centered medicine: Indian perspectives

Roy Abraham Kallivayalil, P.N. Suresh Kumar


The origin of person-centered medicine can be traced back to ancient civilizations and traditions, both Eastern (such as Chinese and Ayurvedic) and Western (particularly Greek), which tended to conceptualise health broadly and holistically. The ancient Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda, paid much importance to the person, his family and his circumstances. In education, the Guru - Chela (Teacher - Disciple) relationship was the cornerstone of clinical teaching. Here, the student or the disciple lived with the Guru (the master or teacher) and learned the art of healing by watching, emulating and learning from him being considered, during this time, almost as a member of the Guru’s family. The Guru was held in great respect or awe. Ayurveda considered medicine as a great vocation. In fact, to become a physician was considered a gift of God. The physician rendered his services as his responsibility to the people around him. Often, it was without consideration of a fee. Whatever was given as a token of gratitude by the patient or his family was accepted. For this reason, the poor and the under-privileged needed no hesitation in approaching the physician, as no demand for a fee or any form of remuneration would be made.


Doctor-patient relationship, education, India, Kerala, mental health, person-centered medicine, person-centered psychiatry, primary care

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