Between Traditional and Scientific Medicine: A Research Strategy for the Study of the Pathways to Treatment Followed by a Group of Mexican Patients with Emotional Disorders

Shoshana Berenzon Gorn, Emily Ito Sugiyama


The aim of this paper is to show how, on the basis of the social construction of reality and the informants' speech, it is possible to obtain original knowledge of the pathways to treatment of patients seeking to restore their mental health. The information presented is based on 13 people's verbal explanations of their pathways to treatment. According to Peter BERGER and Thomas LUCKMANN (1988), the language used by individuals in everyday life is the most effective means of transmitting meanings; it represents the objective accumulation of vast amounts of experience and meanings by this group. By extension, the language a group uses to talk about health constitutes its objectivized experience regarding this phenomenon at the same time as it serves to express it. As in the theoretical aspect, the methodological aspect emphasizes the aim of constructing a spoken, participatory form of knowledge, which is why a qualitative methodology was used. The techniques used focused on non-participatory observation, field diaries and semi-structured interviews. The interviewees' narrations and the observations carried out showed that the population has no problem combining various medical systems. The importance they place on each one depends, among other things, on their financial possibilities, logistic problems, their past experiences with the various systems, anecdotal information on the results obtained and the social networks available.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs040229


qualitative research on health; social construction of reality; pathways to treatment; emotional disorders; Mexico

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Copyright (c) 2004 Shoshana Berenzon Gorn, Emily Ito Sugiyama

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