The call to Hawaii: Holistic practitioners’ perspectives of their communicative practices of healing

Authors

  • Patricia Geist-Martin School of Communication, San Diego State University, USA
  • Catherine Becker Department of Communication, University of Hawaii, Hilo, USA
  • Summer Carnett Department of Communication, University of Illinois, Urbana, USA
  • Katherine Slauta Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, San Diego, USA

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v5i2.133

Keywords:

holistic health, healing, mind-body connection, narratives, spirituality

Abstract

The big island of Hawaii has been named the healing island – a place with varied interpretations of healing, health, and a wide range of holistic health care practices. This research explores the perspectives of holistic providers about the communicative practices they believe are central to their interactions with patients. Intensive ethnographic interviews with 20 individuals revealed that they perceive their communication with clients as centered on four practices, specifically: (a) reciprocity – a mutual action or exchange in which both the practitioner and patient are equal partners in the healing process; (b) responsibility – the idea that, ultimately, people must heal themselves; (c) forgiveness – the notion that healing cannot progress if a person holds the burden of anger and pain; and (d) balance – the idea that it is possible to bring like and unlike things together in unity and harmony. The narratives revealed providers’ ontological assumptions about mind-body systems and the rationalities they seek to resist in their conversations with patients.

Author Biographies

Patricia Geist-Martin, School of Communication, San Diego State University, USA

Patricia Geist-Martin received her Ph.D in Communication from Purdue University. She is a Professor in the School of Communication at San Diego State University. Her primary research interests include narrative and negotiating identity, ideology, control, oppression and resistance in organizations, particularly in health and illness.

Catherine Becker, Department of Communication, University of Hawaii, Hilo, USA

Catherine Becker received her Ph.D from State University of New York at Buffalo. She is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. Her primary research interests include the intersection of communication with individual, organizational and cultural transformation and sustainability and spirituality.

Summer Carnett, Department of Communication, University of Illinois, Urbana, USA

Summer Carnett received her MA in Communication from San Diego State University. She is currently a Ph.D student in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois, where she is studying health and interpersonal communication. Her primary research interests include psychosocial issues experienced by individuals living with chronic illness.

Katherine Slauta, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, San Diego, USA

Katherine Slauta received her MA in Communication from San Diego State University. Her primary research interests include intercultural, organizational and health communication.

Published

2009-03-14

How to Cite

Geist-Martin, P., Becker, C., Carnett, S., & Slauta, K. (2009). The call to Hawaii: Holistic practitioners’ perspectives of their communicative practices of healing. Communication and Medicine, 5(2), 133–144. https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v5i2.133

Issue

Section

Articles