Psychosomatic Medicine in a Changing Society

Some Current Trends in Theory and Research
  • Z. J. Lipowski


The scope of psychosomatic medicine has broadened to a point where people begin to wonder what the limits of its boundaries are. A puzzled observer asks: “Has psychosomatic medicine any limits? If so, what and why? If not, has the term outlived its usefulness, being neither definable nor even describable?” These are valid questions. There is justification in talking about the second phase of development of our discipline,2 one whose growing diversity makes attempts at integration difficult but necessary if we are to maintain its identity and sense of direction. This writer has formulated a comprehensive definition of psychosomatic medicine reflecting both its scientific and clinical aspects.2 It expresses a conception of our field as one whose main goal is twofold: to strive for a unified theory of mind-body-environment interrelations; and to apply what knowledge we gain to improve the care of the sick, to help prevent some illness, and ultimately to enhance the quality of human existence. We do not need to be too concerned with sharp delimitation of the boundaries of our field. To do so might lead to premature closure on many promising lines of unorthodox thought. It would mean missing an opportunity and the intellectual challenge of constructing a unified theory from elements supplied by disparate methods of observation and explanatory systems. To meet this challenge, however, an ecological perspective must be added to the traditional focus of our discipline.


Information Input Psychosomatic Medicine Decision Conflict Sensory Deprivation Serum Urate Level 
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Copyright information

© Grune & Stratton, Inc. 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Z. J. Lipowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Clarke Institute of PsychiatryTorontoCanada

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