Riana Betzler (McDonnell Postdoctoral Fellow, Washington University), Sahanika Ratnayake (PhD Candidate, Faculty of Philosophy, Cambridge University) and Hannah Blythe (PhD Student, Faculty of History, Cambridge University) present a series of short podcasts.
Have you ever experienced that feeling of release when you’re having a bad day and you sit down for drinks with a friend and just let it all off your chest? Or even when you’re having an ok day, but you just have a lot on your mind and need to work through some stuff?
Talking helps. Having a good listener is even better. Many of us recognise this in our everyday lives, but the idea has also been formalised by many traditions—psychiatry, psychotherapy, social work, and counselling perhaps most prominent among them. But why does talking help? What makes a good listener? In what sense might talking be a cure? Even outside the psychological and counselling traditions, the value of talking and listening is becoming increasingly well-recognised. We can see this happening across various areas of medicine. Many of us want a doctor who really listens to our problems, who has empathy for us, and who asks the right sorts of questions. But why is talking, listening, and empathising valuable? And what should doctors do when they are too pressed for time to empathise?
In this podcast series, we explore these questions by interviewing philosophers, historians, and practitioners of talking therapies, broadly construed. In particular, we’ll showcase the work of researchers associated with the Talking as Cure? Contemporary Understandings of Mental Health and its Treatment Research Network.