[The inner coherence of psychosomatic medicine.]

Author: Herrmann-Lingen C.
Affiliation: Prof. Dr. med. Christoph Herrmann-Lingen, Universitätsmedizin Göttingen, Abteilung Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie, von-Siebold-Str. 5, 37075 Göttingen, E-Mail: cherrma@gwdg.de.
Conference/Journal: Z Psychosom Med Psychother.
Date published: 2012
Other: Volume ID: 58 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 126-141 , Special Notes: [Article in German] , Word Count: 246

The problem: The body-mind dualism of somatic medicine is resolved through the concept of psychosomatic medicine. More unspecific descriptions such as "integrative medicine" (which does not clarify what should be integrated) or the "holistic approach" (which comes close to esoterics) suggest the unity of mind, body and soul, although the term "psycho-somatic" still reflects dualistic thinking. Past approaches: The American Psychosomatic Society has been considering a name change for years, partially to rid itself of the dualistic label, but so far these efforts have not resulted in a viable alternative. Engel's concept of biopsychosocial medicine supposes a triangular array of the body, mind, and social environment, setting body and mind into a relationship with each other and with a third party. Based on the physician-patient relationship (Balint), psychosomatic medicine can be understood in a broader sense as "relationship medicine," covering not only the use of the interpersonal relationship as a medical agent, but also a science of medicine that puts mind, body, and social environment into a theoretical framework of interrelations, with the perspective of integrating the different system levels. The translation processes among the system levels are, for example, addressed by biosemiotics (v. Uexküll). Consequences: Both clinical medicine and medical research, if they intend to be psychosomatic, need to take these theoretical concepts into account and utilize them practically for (team)work with patients. Together with a clear differentiation from other cultures of (para)medicine, this can serve to develop a "psychosomatic identity."
PMID: 22786843