Chronic Pain in Childhood and the Medical Encounter: Professional Ventriloquism and Hidden Voices.
Qualitative Health Research, 12
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/104973230201200103
This article is a report on the experiences of three children with chronic pain and their families. The children and families experienced numerous encounters with health professionals during their “quest for a diagnosis” for chronic pain. In a high proportion of these encounters, the children/families felt they were judged, disbelieved, and labeled as difficult or dysfunctional, and this compounded the stresses they were already dealing with. The families described situations in which their accounts of pain were reinterpreted through a variety of professional lenses, and the children felt that their voices were muted or ignored. Professional ventriloquism is presented as a means of exploring the way in which the child’s words are reinterpreted and mistranslated through professionals’ own paradigms of understanding. Professionals need to stand back from what they believe to determine what the children themselves know about their pain.
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