Rivista per le Medical Humanities

Lorenzo Bonoli
rMH 11, 2009, 11-16

It can be given, demanded, awakened and cried out for

The word «attention» is a complex word, which has more meanings and it is used in many expressions. The article suggests an exploratory journey through this complexity, trying to show how the word «attention» can be used to designate a particular state of consciousness, a cognitive process, a particular behaviour or gesture, or it can be used as interjection. The theoretical journey will also underline how the notion of «attention», in its various meanings, always refers, in a more or less direct way, to a specific faculty of man which characterizes the possibilities of him relating to others and the natural environment in which he lives.  

Christian Marazzi
rMH 11, 2009, 17-19

New Economy and attention deficit

The attention economy considers attention as limited and highly perishable resource, which decreases with the growing of the amount of information available. The text explains how the attention has become, at the end of the 20th century, an economic variable, when the excessive burden of information, favoured by technological revolution, which characterizes the age of the New Economy, has clashed with the decreasing of time and attention that people are willing to dedicate to information, with consequences not only on the economy, but also on mental illnesses. The exponential increase of medicine consumption to cure the attention deficit disorder offers a meaningful indication concerning the significance of the illness correlated to the information glut and to infostress. If the occupational stability loss has made the loss of attention of workers-consumers worse, it has parallely contributed to the reduction of consumption of information goods and the correlated income: the crisis of the New Economy at the end of the 90s can be explained on the basis of the disproportion between the offer of information and the demand of attention.

Rita Charon
rMH 11, 2009, 20-24

A crystal clean cup

In a passage, taken from the volume Narrative Medicine published in 2006 by Oxford University Press and here translated for the first time into Italian, the author states and talks about the centrality of attention in relation to treatments. Nevertheless, the state of attention is complex, demanding, and difficult to achieve. It requires from caregivers the emptying of self so as to become an instrument for receiving the meaning of another, the patient. At attitude which does not mean that the caregiver withholds his authentic self from the therapeutic connection. Quite the opposite. It means putting all that he knows at the disposal of each patient, individually, in an act of fitting generosity and humility, and to join, with the patient, as a whole presence, deploying all his human gifts of intuition, empathy, and ability to bear witness to each patient he sees. Philosophers, psychoanalysts and writers are involved by the author in the humanistic reading of clinical practice.  

Guenda Bernegger
rMH 11, 2009, 25-36

From the attention in care to the attention that cares  

Which types of attention are used by various health professionals? The text suggests a few answers, reporting parts of interviews gathered through a survey in the field. The experiences of nurses, volunteers, teachers, doctors, rescuers all cross each other, each of them perceives and uses attention towards treatments in a different way. As a result of that, we have a rich and diverse image of the concept in question, more or less closely related to factors like error, carefulness, esteem, listening, wonder, acceptance, empathy, curiosity, automatism, routine, quality of the treatment. Through the survey, the concept of attention seems to change shape: from an element of the cure to a vector of cure.  

Alessandra Rossi Ghiglione
rMH 11, 2009, 37-39

Bringing attention to the theatre of care

In the theatre experience, the attention is primarily a condition of the body open in all its channels towards the world, which requires training in order to guarantee this quality of receptive presence. The author, a dramatist and director, ponders on the role of the attention in the theatre of care referring to some events of social theatre in hospitals and hospices. It results that the theatre work in health care contexts can offer an answer sensitive to the widespread demand of attention by patients. At the same time, it can help caregivers improve their faculty of perceiving and the quality of their presence.