that apply in a doctor/patient relationship are different to those which
govern other social relations.
These two people have just met, but within seconds one has begun to tell
the other intimate personal details about his health. What is more, it
is likely that, in a few minutes, he will be prepared to remove some of
his clothes and submit to a physical examination.
This is a one way process, it would be highly inappropriate if the doctor
started to discuss her own bowel movements or if the patient asked her
personal questions. The interaction is shaped by their differing social
roles and their different needs.
The patient is seeking expert knowledge and access to treatment. The doctor
is acting as the gatekeeper of the scarce social resource that is health-care
and so is seeking information about the patient in order to assess his