Background: Development of therapeutic relational skills is a relatively neglected area of medical education. Conventional teaching techniques are mostly unsuitable for the realization of experience-based learning. Aims: To develop a training method which enables lived self-experiences of the therapeutic relationship in class. To help students understand that illness and the doctorpatient relationship are integrated in the network of life histories and other relationships. Methods: Our Integrated Performative Action Method is based on the elaboration of a short story of an illness in a student group. Through the 5 phases of the process, students write their own version of the story, build up characters, scenarios and enact the play. We have tested the method with 6 groups of students (n=70) in a 10-week course. Video-recordings and minutes of sessions were analysed by two independent observers. Results: Through elaborating the characters and playing the roles, students could speak about their own problems and act out feelings in the name of the characters. All groups had strong involvement throughout the process. Conclusions: The method helps to experience the ways in which therapeutic relationships and professional identities are constructed, reflected upon and communicated in a group of medical students.
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