Why your pain must not exist: Bias & Phenomenology at the ends of medicine
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Interrupting bias in counselling psychotherapy is critical to ethical practice. This paper demonstrates how the scientific method, for all its utility in health and medicine, also functions as a worldview and a personal bias which is antagonistic to the lived experience of some clients. This personal and individual level of analysis contributes to the critical psychology literature which has typically focused on the historical and institutional roles of science in counselling therapy. Using the case of irritable bowel syndrome it is demonstrated how individual practitioners can become engaged in conflict when client lived experiences take practitioners to the ends of medical knowledge. In this zero sum conflict, the survival of one world view means the other must not exist. I suggest that by acknowledging and attending to the anxieties of this encounter, counselling therapists can enhance their capacity to perform ethical and productive care work. I point to radical empiricism as a methodology that can support less biased client engagement without clinical practice becoming less scientific or less expert.