Self Determination Theory And Traditional Wisdom For Sustainable Physician-Patient Relationship

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Parimala S and Judu Ilavarasu


Self Determination Theory (SDT) is an established theory in psychology to understand the nature and sources of human motivation. This theory has been used in many disciplines to understand the dynamics of human behaviour. In the context of physician-patient relationship, which calls for a self-propelled and proactive actions, sometimes even crossing the traditional norms of health care practice. We present the key highlights of the SDT theory and suggest how it can be related to groom physician-patient relationship and make it sustainable and caring. By adopting autonomy, competency, and relatedness, which are the major components of SDT, we can promote the practice of SDT among practicing physicians. We have also explored how insights from the eastern wisdom, especially the concepts of karma yoga (selfless action) and the concept of different bhavas (emotional attitudes) in bhakti yoga (devotion) can be a practical tool for the practice of SDT among physicians interacting with their patients. We conclude that by adopting the principles of karma yoga and specific mental attitudes as suggested in bhakti yoga, a physician can nurture the mind and thereby practice SDT with a clearer perspective.

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