The possibility of cultivating reciprocal relationships

Friday, November 1, 2013
First author:
Maaike A. Hermsen
Reciprocity & Intimacy

1 Academic Collaborative Centre Living with an Intellectual Disability, Tranzo, Scientific Centre for Care & Welfare, Tilburg School of Social and Behavorial Sciences, Tilburg University, Tilburg, the Netherlands

2 Dichterbij Kennisn@, Ottersum, the Netherlands

3 Department Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, Tilburg, the Netherlands

4 Faculty of Health and Social Studies, HAN University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

All authors:

Maaike A. Hermsen1,2, Petri P.J.C.M. Embregts1,2,3,4, Noud Frielink1,2, Kim.K.J.H.M. van den Bogaard1,2, Sara Zwetsloot1,2, Wietske W.M.W.J. van Oorsouw1,2 (moderator)

Choice, sex, rights and reciprocity


A growing tendency can be noticed to construe professional care in terms of care relations. According to the theory of professional loving care, a high quality reciprocal relationship between professional and client affects the provided quality of care. If this claim can be sustained, training and education programs for health care professionals should emphasize the strengthening of relational ties and the development of a professional loving care attitude. However, current training programs mainly focus on the increase of measurable knowledge and the application of technical skills and interventions. In the present study, evidence is gained regarding the influence of education on cultivating a professional loving care attitude.


From April 2010-May 2011, two studies have been combined to find an answer to the research questions: is it possible to cultivate or develop a professional loving care attitude and what topics should be addressed in an educational/training context when cultivating a professional loving care attitude in health care professionals will be taken seriously? First, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 10 training consultants or advisors, teachers, work supervisors and human resource managers. Second, a focus group interview was held with experts, ethicists with experience in teaching ethics and the development of attitude.


On the basis of the view that a professional loving care attitude is trainable twelve topics have been addressed by the respondents of the two studies to be able to cultivate a professional loving care attitude. Respondents made a classification concerning the most appropriate moment to address these topics: at the start of the study, during the bachelor/master phase of the study, or (when making the transfer) into practice.


On the basis of this study it can be concluded that to optimalize caring relationships can be influenced through training and education. However, in the discussion we will critically reflect on the twelve topics that should be addressed to cultivate professional loving care among (future) care professionals.