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Title: Counter Clockwise
Author(s): Ellen J. Langer
Number of Referenced Stories: 2

Publication Year: 2009
ISBN: 9780345502049
Dewey Decimal Class: 300
Dewey Decimal Division: 306
Author Website:

Just in Time Stories:
    #111 - Do Doctor's Diagnose Reality?

B's Buzz

Ellen Langer shares an insight:

"We can influence our lives if not our deaths.

While death may be inevitable and life after death unknowable, we certainly can influence life before death.  If we put together all that we have learned thus far, we come up with a new way to understand health.  When we recognize that doctors can only know so much, that medical data are not absolute truths, that language hides decisions that rob us of choice, that incurable really means indeterminate, and that our beliefs and most of the relevant external world are social constructions, we should be ready to seek a new way."

Recognizing the outsized influence of behavioral definitions provides an uncommon lens into maintaining our own health as well as improving a nation's healthcare delivery.  American medical providers are unfortunately stuck in the middle, often coerced by legalities and the pressures of high patient expectations.

Healthcare systems use definitions and their terms primarily for technical and professional language reasons.  Again, as Ellen Langer points out in this featured story, doctors can know only so much.  Medical terms are often not absolute truths, but intentional or not, they can also serve as protective mechanisms for the deliverer of the news.  We therefore recommend Counter Clockwise, particularly if you know someone who has cancer.  A new approach to rewire behavior in a more healthcaring and understandable way is now possible.

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