General Practitioner His Patients and Their Feelings
The recent explosion of knowledge in the fields of neurobiology, psychology and genetics has made it no longer helpful to discuss whether or not a particular illness is psychosomatic. It is much more helpful to use the term psychosomatic attitude to refer to an approach that pays attention to possible interactions of psychological, social and biological factors in all patients, whatever symptom or disorder they may be suffering. Recent research has demonstrated that contrasting the irrationality of emotions to the rationality of reasoning and decision making is no longer tenable. Emotions are seen as an integral part of the reasoning machinery of the brain. Damage to the parts of the brain that process emotion leads to flawed reasoning. Emotions are a striking and omnipresent feature of human experience. Although they are rooted in biology and clearly discernible in the behavior of many other animals, we humans know our emotions best through our subjective feelings. Emotions are simultaneously somatic and psychological, and therefore bridge the psyche-soma divide and are a valuable information system necessary for survival. The author, an experienced general practitioner with psychotherapeutic skills, discusses the attitudes that allow the doctor and his patient to learn from their emotions and develop a greater tolerance of them. In a number of detailed and often moving case histories, he presents his interaction with patients who suffer from various clinical conditions such as cancer, herpes zoster, hyperventilation syndrome, asthma, skin disorders, panic disorder, obesity, eye disorders and somatization disorder. He demonstrates how his psychosomatic attitude helps improve these patients' illnesses.
Publication Date: 12/1/2001
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