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The Importance of “Empty Gestures” in Recovery: Being Human Together

Symbolic Interaction

Published online on


What do clients/patients want or value from their encounters with healthcare providers? Based on ethnographic research conducted with individuals suffering from drug addiction and mental health issues, this article argues that clients/patients treasure “everyday” or “human” interaction with medical staff. Everydayness is accomplished through three generic social processes: **co‐silence, inclusion in back‐stage activity, and physical dramatizations of authenticity. These processes and other ordinary interactional strategies for “being human together” should be seen as vital tools for recovery.