L’“inganno” dell’empatia in ambito sanitario. Dall’empatia all’exotopia: dicotomia del senso attraverso l’uso riflessivo dei film

Cristiano Depalmas, Valerio Ferro Allodola


The article intends to propose a critical re-reading of the term “empathy”. The educational point of view on the relationship of care concerns, in fact, a dialogic tension dominated by continuous replenish the other as a bearer of an autonomous perspective, equally sensible of our own and not reducible to ours. We must therefore build models of medical education in which it is fundamental the practitioner’s ability to de-concentrate from his own models of social-cognitive construction of reality without, however, vanish from the perspective of the patient. This is defined by Bakhtin “exotopia”. In empathy, in fact, the operator de-contextualizes and isolates some parts of the experience of others to understand it, according to his own experience, so keeping a valid context. He simulates, somehow, to “put himself in the shoes of the other”, but in fact, at the last moment, “put the other one in his shoes.” In exotopia, however, the search begins when, having tried to put himself in the shoes of the other, you find that it does not go well. But to realize this, we must “expose” and questioning ourselves and we may not use either questionnaires or interviews rigidly structured. We must, that is, activate a reflexive attitude in relation to our professional epistemology and in relation to our implicit knowledge, that determines powerfully the care practices. The decision to use the two movies (in this case a short film and a documentary) wants to be a help to develop the reflection on the link empathy-extopia, as it stimulates the processes of experience development – marked by the transformative and interactive values – in which the subject is, or becomes, player in his own learning and existential process.


empathy; ecotopia; film; healthcare services; medical education

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14601/Tutor-14215

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