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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly fun to read
From scanning newspaper reviews of this book one might get the impression that it's worthy, interesting and possibly a little hard-going. I began reading it with a slight sense of duty, but was quickly drawn in by the accessible prose, fascinating stories and elegantly laid out ideas. Not only are its arguments subtle, complex and humane, it's also a damn good read...
Published on 9 Mar 2007 by Adrienne T.

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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars conditional and qualified praise
An intriguing book which looks at potential psychological elements to any illness. What frustrates me as I'm reading it are the vast number of rhetorical questions and uses of words like 'may well', 'might', 'perhaps', etc. I kept thinking "Well yes, I agree that Might be the case, but then all sorts of things Might be the case...". I also found - and I hope this is a...
Published on 1 Aug 2009 by Mr. R. G. Gipps


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly fun to read, 9 Mar 2007
From scanning newspaper reviews of this book one might get the impression that it's worthy, interesting and possibly a little hard-going. I began reading it with a slight sense of duty, but was quickly drawn in by the accessible prose, fascinating stories and elegantly laid out ideas. Not only are its arguments subtle, complex and humane, it's also a damn good read.

One of the book's central ideas is that medical practitioners need to take human complexity into account when making diagnoses and offering treatment. Having read it shortly after its release, it was interesting to see how it was represented in the media. Clearly these are ideas that some people find quite threatening, as if the notion of careful listening has been so successfully factored out of the medical equation that any mention of it seems outlandish and impracticable. Thanks goodness there are writers like this around, who still hold out hope for meaningful human exchange.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A resurrection of psychosomatic medicine, 2 Mar 2007
By 
Dr. Christopher I. Pelton (Shropshire) - See all my reviews
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This work is pertinent in a time of dehumanised medicine obsessed with targets , protocols , bureaucratic micromanagement and digital measurement. It starts with a historical survey illustrating just how much has changed since the heyday of psychosomatic concepts. Mr Corfield reminds us that up until about 30 years ago there was an ongoing effort to understand the manifestations of the unconscious mind in illness and disease through various psychodynamic disciplines that tend to be dismissed by our selective evidence-based approach as too "soft". Therefore for much of the book the focus is on individual case histories. To readers unfamiliar with psychoanalytic concepts it could be hard-going and verging on the repititive. Some of the interpretations might seem far-fetched.

There is a sustained and sometimes polemical effort to restore awareness of the unavoidable complex personal and often unconscious psychological factors ignored in much of contemporary medicine. Chapter 15 on doctors themselves is challenging; I wonder how many specialists have ever been described as having a "socially sanctioned form of fetishism"?

As a General Practitioner I found it stimulating and I would recommend it to my colleagues. By one of those odd coincidences, only hours after reading it I saw a patient with a hysterical illness- only to realise how difficult it would be to incorporate this approach into my day to day practice. But the book has much wider appeal and I hope will become popular.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why people get ill by darian Leader, 27 April 2009
By 
Valerie Preston "Valp44" (Dublin) - See all my reviews
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Why Do People Get Ill?: Exploring the Mind-body Connection
If you have to be involved with the medical profession this is the book for you. It may help you to understand your feelings as you find yourself embroiled in an experienced that can be very confusing.
The exploration of the unconscious processes involved in what happens when you are ill and the unconscious of the medics involved brings some clarity to being the patient.
This book evokes many feelings in the reader, relief, frustration, anger and understanding. This book has to be read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All about listening to the story .., 23 Dec 2011
By 
Victoria Field "fal" (Canterbury, Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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Working as a poetry therapist, I often hear people's narratives about their illnesses, whether physical, psychological, emotional or existential. Darian Leader and David Corfield's excellent book, reminds us that these stories always have elements of all those categories and that every illness is `psychosomatic' in that there is always meaning in an illness. One of the most compelling ideas I have taken from reading Why Do People Get Ill is the idea that one cause of illness is often the failure to make a link with life events and the body's reaction.

The authors make the case very strongly for more `story' in treatment, especially when someone's condition may be serving an important function, for example, a young woman's diabetes, never mentioned by her mother, had a close association with her absent father, also never mentioned by the mother. The diabetes keeps her in relationship with him. There are many fascinating accounts of how the timing of illness has significance and I have heard similar stories many times, of parents dying on the birthday of deceased child, someone becoming severely depressed every January and so on.

Another revelation was how relatively recent our compartmentalising of medical treatment is. In the 30s and 40s, apparently, opthamologists and dentists routinely referred patients to psychotherapy, something unheard of today. And yet there is plenty of empirical evidence that, for example, tooth decay speeds up in students during exam times.

There is so much more of interest - that having borrowed this from the local library, I'm now buying my own copy so that I can annotate and highlight it freely - it's a book I'll go back to again and again, not least for the excellent Endnotes, which direct the reader to more primary sources.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, with new material., 24 Feb 2008
This is an intelligent and thought provoking text. The authors examine the physical and psychological causes of disorder(s) with equal scrutiny, and introduce a third element exploring how each might contribute and manifest iteslf in the presenting disorder. As such this is a refreshing book that treads new ground and moves away from entrenched theories which have dominated the discourse to date.Whether your interest is in conventional or alternative medicine, you will find something of intrigue and challenge in these pages
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars conditional and qualified praise, 1 Aug 2009
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An intriguing book which looks at potential psychological elements to any illness. What frustrates me as I'm reading it are the vast number of rhetorical questions and uses of words like 'may well', 'might', 'perhaps', etc. I kept thinking "Well yes, I agree that Might be the case, but then all sorts of things Might be the case...". I also found - and I hope this is a clear and fair way of making the point - that the rules for the use of the word 'meaning' when talking about physical symptoms were not clearly spelled out. Symptoms have meanings if they have communicative functions, and they have communicative functions just in case they are observed (p. 50) - or so we are told. But that seemed an excessively liberal criterion for 'communication' to me. (Maybe I get a boil on my bum, don't realise it's there, but you cop a glance at it. Whilst exposing my bum to you might communicate something, it's not obvious to me that this boil communicates anything...)

The authors question whether we can use objective markers of the psychological factors which may cause people to get ill. I was largely persuaded by their arguments against such uses and against rather meaningless concepts such as 'stress'. This however turns us back to the means we have for discerning the particular personal meanings that the symptoms have and the connection between these meanings and the occurrence and maintenance of these symptoms. I wasn't sure that I knew, after reading this book, how to think clearly enough, not only about the notion of 'meaning' in deployment here, but also about how it connected with other notions like 'cause', 'effect', etc. Clearly enough, that is, to do anything very specific with the thoughts which the book inspired.

None of these are criticisms of the authors' valuable restoration of psychosomatics to our our understanding of general medical problems.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So true, 11 April 2014
By 
J. Williamson "msjwkb" (North Wales) - See all my reviews
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So true, but be warned, it will not cure you; the mind body link is too deep and strong. However it explains a lot. Clearly and well written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MUST, 13 Aug 2013
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This book should be read by everyone who is working in a medical or psychotherapeutical context. It asks the right questions !
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I wish there were stars for the negative, 2 July 2013
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This book honestly seems like a collection of the worst stereotypes around about psychosomatic illnesses, most of the statements the author makes have zero backup in research or science, it seems a collection of personal opinions and particularly wacky ones like: if they tell you that you will die on friday, you will (really?then half of the world will be dead with voodoo), and it leaves out all the real work that needs to be done to uncover the emotional part of an illness. Instead, the author seems to reduce all diseases to some kind of general self suggestion, with an articulation of the issue that is inferior to that you might hear from a drunk in a pub.
I usually care for books and respect them, but this one I threw in the trash. It's not just a waste of time, I can imagine how this book can deroute someone who might need serious psychological or physical therapy, so I find this damaging as well.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A psychoanalytic look at medicine, 5 July 2011
Easily one of the best reviews of medicine to date dealing with a non biological approach.
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