Therapeutic Talk

John P. Callan, MD
JAMA. 1980;244(19):2202. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310190054027.
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A decade ago during the Vietnam conflict, the initials "R&R," like many other abbreviations and flip phrases of those troubled years, came into common parlance. This is an abbreviation for "rest and relaxation," a period of recuperation and making love far from the daily grind of making war. Today, as then and centuries ago, physicians are charged with the responsibility of establishing for their patients another kind of R&R, in a different war. Their battle is the eternal campaign against sickness, pain, and discomfort, and their objective can be reached by mobilizing medicine's R&R, reassurance and relief of suffering. The latest advances in pharmaceutical progress may be used to achieve that goal, but it can be reached with another type of medicine, one that is sometimes doubted by patient and practitioner alike. This discounted treatment is talk; a patient-physician exchange, which, when used with the same gusto as pharmaceuticals, can


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