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Biopsychosocial Medicine: An Integrated Approach to Understanding Illness Paperback – 1 Apr 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (1 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019853034X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198530343
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 1.8 x 15.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,344,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


In summary, this book allows us to listen in on thoughtful experts deliberating about two models which should complement rather than supplant one another. We need to triangulate the "bio", "psycho", and "social" aspects of illness to provide optimal, patient-cantered care. An overly narrow view results in myopic science as well practice. (Journal of Psychosomatic Research)

... this book offers a tantalising overview of a holistic approach to medicine that avoids, on the one hand, the relativistic paralysis and practical irrelevance of much now rather stale post modern theorising, and on the other, an over determined reduction of all human endeavour to phenotypic expression. So let's hear it for the biopsychosocial approach. (Primary Care and Community Psychiatry)

Controversial and challenging this book is vital reading for health professionals who feel the biomedical approach is failing them and their patients. (The Psychologist, Vol 12, No 12)

This book thoroughly covers the topic. I have not seen a book like this in a very long time. Certainly there are books on psychosomatic illness but his one puts it all together nicely. The lively discussion following most of the chapters is absolutely enlightening. (Doody's Journal)

About the Author

Peter White is at Department of Psychological Medicine, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By kay cosmic on 10 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great title but not a great book for nursing however it has a few relevant parts. written as a dialoge and the information is more of an opinon between medical professionals rather than fact. maybe useful to some.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Controversial for a reason 5 Aug. 2005
By profile deleted - Published on
Format: Paperback
For the past two decades medicine has been engulfed in an ideological firestorm that is less about actual patients and their wellbeing than it is about professional promotion and a backlash against a medical model that does not give psychiatrists and psychologists a starring role in healthcare.

Although the editors and contributors of this book pay lip service to the concept of "integrated medicine" the biological portion of the biopsychosocial model is generally limited to the biological psychiatry (neuroscience and neurobiology) paradigm, which focuses primarily on the HPA axis.

This book gives a good overview of the thinking of one side of the raging battle in psychiatry as to how mental illness is defined, what is normal, and what is organic disease. However, I didn't find it to be balanced or mindful.

Just as there is more to medicine than mere mechanics, there is also more to medicine than the "mind." How such polarization is helpful to patients is not adequately addressed, possibly because the wellbeing of patients is not the real focus.

Although a number of organically classified diseases were used as examples, once again, balance was missing. When something is controversial, balance is presenting both sides, yet little or no attention was given to the large bodies of scientific research objectively refuting the stated views of the contributors.

If you want a good overview from a very specific point of view, you will find it here, but it essentially remains a book of self-promotion.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Egregiously Inaccurate 15 Sept. 2011
By Justin Reilly, esq. - Published on
Format: Paperback
Another exceedingly inaccurate book from Peter White and the "Wessely school." Peter White is the Chief Medical Officer of Swiss Reinsurance which seeks to limit payouts to patients. White's biopsychosocial approach facilitates this denial of benefits.

One example of misinformation:
"I want to come back to the concept of phobia. Michael von Korff talked about back pain patients having a phobia about activity, as do chronic fatigue syndrome patients. One of the ways of overcoming this phobia is through behaviour and exposure." p.197

also see pp.129-130
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Purpose of the Book is Clear 8 July 2006
By J. Eubanks - Published on
Format: Paperback
The purpose of this book is not to weigh the evidence from biomedical and biopsychosocial models of health; it is to describe the under-represented view of biopsychosocial medicine from various perspectives, all of which purposefully focus on biopsychosocial concerns. Since Engel's description of a biopsychosocial model of health, very few have taken the time to investigate what this model may look like in practice. And this is not a concern only for psychiatry/psychology, a point made in Peter White's compilation. All of healthcare must consider how a new model may be implemented, but it is vital to remember that discussion will always take place outside of the clinic by those within the profession who can or will make the time for analytical discourse. This text aims to evaluate various perspectives of the biopsychsocial model to see if it more adequately represents the modern realities of healthcare, and if it does, then we can decide how to implement a new model. In healthcare, this is a painstakingly slow process; most practitioners will not make the time for it. This is not a fault. As the biopsychosocial model is only 30 years old, it is far too soon to expect that practitioners reasonably understand how such a paradigm shift may manifest itself in the clinic. Give this text a chance. It is will worth the read.
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