The “I-Thou” concepts can be widened in the context of hospitality. In particular, specific attention should be given to understanding the connection between personal identity, as well as challenges an individual faces while experiencing certain problems. The discussion of woundedness, therefore, sheds light on understanding broader sense of healing, which differs much from cure. In particular, the concept of woundedness should not be associated with physical pain.
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Rather, it affects both the person who experiences this pain and the one who tries to help a person to overcome that pain. The article called Hospitality: How Woundedness Heals by Game and Metcalfe provides an ethnographic account on the concept of healing and its distinction from curing1. Moreover, the article reflects Buber’s spiritual views on the concept of identity and interaction between people.
In the article, the authors focus on spiritual dimension, as well as how it influences human relations. Specific emphasis is placed on the analysis of identity intrusion and the role of curing and healing in the experience of woundedness. In curing centers, therefore, pains become the starting point of interaction and identity sharing.
The nurse professionals, therefore, heal their patients through experiencing pain and woundedness of those. According to Game and Metcalfe, “the wounded healer’s hospitality allows others to accept in themselves the realities that they are tempted to shut out”2. Wrong perception of identity does not allow the curer to accept the impossibility to find remedy for the patient.
The point is that most curers identify a specific disorder and adhere to it to eliminate all the deficiencies. In such a way, they remove the problem they personally identify, but not the problem that exists in reality. As a result, curers are often affected by patient’s existing weaknesses.
The concept of healing is more associated with the ability of a person to move from the personal perception of pain to the actual pain endured by a patient. The failure to accept the reality and deviate from the accepted mechanism of curing negatively contributes both to the identification of disorders, as well as negative experience of woundedness by curers.
Moreover, the wrong perception leads to creation of prejudices and stereotypes which distort the actual purpose of curing and healing. In order to move away from the accepted scheme, Buber proposes to resort to acceptance of otherness, which is the basis of genuine conversation ensuring fulfillment of interpersonal interaction. The acceptance, however, does not imply the attempt of the curer to change the other.
Rather, it means the attempt that would recognize the patient’s identity through individualization. According to Game and Metcalfe, “transformation involves people setting aside the limits of labels and masks and coming to accept who they really are”3. So, there is no sense in making people change because it leads to wrong identity perception. In contrast, the role of healers is to let people understand that they can change.
In conclusion, the article at issue provides a new understanding of how identity is structured, as well as how interaction can allow people understand who they really are. In this respect, the concept of love, grace, presence explains what techniques and approach should be used in medical centers.
Buber emphasizes that cure and healing are distinguished by the consideration of spirituality concept and its influence on patient care. It also implies the necessity to remove all stereotypes and prejudices and accept problems beyond them.
Game, A and Metcalfe, A ‘Hospitality: How Woundedness Heals’, Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, vol., 12, 2010, pp. 25-42.
- A Game and A Metcalfe 2010, ‘Hospitality: How Woundedness Heals’, Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, vol, 12, 25.
- Ibid, 27.
- Ibid, 28.