Paul Tournier was a general practitioner in Geneva and also an active Christian. In 1940, he published his first book "La Médecine de la Personne", later translated into English: "The Healing of Persons".
He changed his medical pratice by taking most of his time for listening and talking to his patients, not only considering the physical dimension of their being but also the psychological and spiritual dimensions.
In 1947, he founded the International Group of Medecine of the Person.
This group is still very active today in many countries such as France, Germany, UK and USA.
He then wrote and published many books, which were widely received throughout the world and were translated into more than 30 languages.
He also gave talks and seminars worldwide.
Today we experience a lot of economical pressures for efficiency and cost effectiveness in many areas of human life, which among other influences often endangers and questions the value and the respect for the dignity of human life. All the more Dr Paul Tournier's message is becoming more relevant and more important in our time.
- "Médecine de la Personne" is a basic attitude rather than a theoretical system
- It needs understanding and experience of the "Person"
- centering on the question of the "Purpose in Life"
- exercising learning to listen - to one another, to oneself, to God
- Human medecine
- wholeness: "...an answer to medecine that has lost its sense for the human person as a whole being, thus paying the price for scientific advances, ..."
- MdlP ("Médecine de la Personne") as "Synthetical medecine" rather that "Analytical medecine"
- the relationship is central in MdlP: relationship to one's self, to others and to God
- not a technique, rather an attitude of the doctor: "...there is no medecine of the whole person without the person of the medical professional"
- the role of Self Disclosure: being honest, transparent, opening up to the patient to a certain degree as therapeutic means
- sincere validation of the other person
- interdisciplinary cooperation with others, especially within institutions
- MdlP is for all medical specialties, and not only for psychiatrists and psychotherapists
- it is not "Antipsychiatry" nor "Alternative Medecine"
- it is more than psychosomatic medecine by giving the spiritual dimension a high priority (pneumo-psychosomatic medecine)
- it is not a religious psychotherapy; a religious belief is not a prerequisite of MdlP, but MdlP leads to greater openness to the spiritual dimension
- MdlP is marked by openness and dialogue (see also Martin Buber)
- "Socratic school": searching a way in dialogue, trusting that the essential will be revealed in honest searching dialogue
Impact of Paul Tournier and Medecine of the Whole Person
- Many people of all backgrounds, professions and ages have been influenced and blessed by the books and talks
- Many health professionals have been inspired to seek an integrated way of Spirituality, esp. Christian Faith and medical practice
- International groups formed in many parts of the world such as Europe, USA, South America, Africa and Asia
- the yearly study group goes on (see list of meeting and conferences)