The doctor-patient relationship and assisted suicide: A contribution from dynamic psychiatry

N. Gregory Hamilton, Pamela J. Edwards, James K. Boehnlein, Catherine A. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The authors draw upon psychodynamic psychiatry's literature on the nature of dependency and influence in the doctor-patient relationship to explore the issue of doctor-assisted suicide. The results of this review reveal that people are always both consciously and unconsciously influenceable and that their very sense of life being worth living depends upon a context of valuing relationships. The doctor-patient relationship is particularly charged emotionally; doctors depend upon role clarity to guide them in their responsibility to act in the best interest of the patient. If physicians alter their ethics to include assisting suicides as one of their roles, it will alter the physician-patient relationship in complex and potentially dangerous ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-75
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Forensic Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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