On Gratitude

Sylvia Caras, PhD

Abstract

"Those who are relatively powerless may develop a certain misplaced gratitude to those with power over them -- gratitude for ordinary decencies, for less abusiveness." (Card) If a patient is sufficiently diminished in self-consideration, is compliance with the medical expectation of gratefulness worthy gratitude? Few committed patients are retrospectively grateful for their care. (Gardner) Expressed patient gratitude is not an ethical exculpation for coercive psychiatric interventions.

Key words: doctor-patient relations, feedback, gratitude, grateful, ethics, forced treatment, coercion

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