Philosophy, Therapy, Medicine

Philosophy's insights and methods, as well as its integrated view of human nature, offer a practical dimension whose potential has not yet been fully understood, particularly in its contribution to healthcare practices. Philosophy, which was originally born as a response to very practical issues, in both the Western and the Chinese traditions, is not just something to reflect upon; it is a powerful means with which to act. The medical approach, on the other hand, underpinned by science, tends to tackle an 'affected area' and strives to resolve specific problems. While contemporary medicine has achieved an unprecedented sophistication and effectiveness, its level of specialization has, arguably, lost view of the whole picture of the human being. Yet if healthcare professionals fail to take into account the manifold aspects of the human being, construing patients simply in terms of mechanical bodies, they may miss the goal of directing patients towards a long-lasting and integrated wellbeing.

The CHM Philosophy, Therapy, Medicine research theme at the University of Hong Kong aims to promote the integration of philosophical approaches into clinical practice. Drawing on a range of disciplines, its mission is to incorporate fresh philosophical thinking within the clinical environment, by offering not only its insights on the nature of the human being that medicine seeks to cure, but also by furnishing a theoretical ground upon which to develop an integrated therapeutic approach to human suffering.



Past Activities:
- A seminar on Seeing Pain, co-hosted by the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry, was held on 17 February 2011.

- A seminar entitled The Touching, Feeling, Flourishing Body: Historical and Contemporary Approaches to Touch was held on 24 September 2010 at the University of Hong Kong.

- A seminar at the University of Hong Kong entitled The Boundaries and Definition of Mental Disorder: Evolutionary Theories and the DSM was held on 19 May 2010.

- An international workshop at the University of Hong Kong entitled Death: Philosophy, Therapy, Medicine was organized on 23 April 2010 in collaboration with the Centre on Behavioral Health. The purpose of the meeting is to bring together researchers in the Humanities with practitioners of bereavement therapy, in order to explore the practical implications of certain conceptions of death and dying.

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