What is what is psychosomatic medicine?

How can the psychosomatic approach help us understand our diseases and heal?

Jean-Benjamin Stora

Clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, psychosomatician

answers

Jean-Benjamin Stora: In integrative psychosomatics that I have been developing for thirty years now, there is always participation of the psycho-neuronal system in all diseases, without being the cause. We must go beyond the body-psyche split because the human being is a psychosomatic unit. Psychosomatic medicine has a rather different approach to health than allopathic medicine because we believe that all disorders and all diseases are psychosomatic.

In the case of dermatological problems, many researches started in the 30s by Dr. René Arpad Spîtz have aroused the attention of doctors on maternal deficiencies in the first years of life which weaken the skin: the small child has need to be touched, caressed and cuddled. The skin itself is an immune system, psychosomatic therapies can come in support of targeted medical treatments, for a better effectiveness of care. It must be understood that a psychosomatician therapist can work only in relation to his colleague doctor.

Thus, whatever the disease, it requires a comprehensive care, allopathic medicine and psychosomatician working hand in hand. The explanation of somatization is very complex because the doctor must relate it to life events and take physical pain into account in the somatization process. But if this understanding can help the patient in his process of healing, psychosomatic medicine can never be a substitute for allopathic care, especially in cases of cancer and serious diseases.

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