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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A resurrection of psychosomatic medicine, 2 Mar 2007
This review is from: Why Do People Get Ill?: Exploring the Mind-body Connection (Hardcover)
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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Initial post: 3 Aug 2010 14:55:53 BDT
D. Russell says:
I will recommend the book to my daughter who is studying medicine, but it's probably far too difficult for myself, even though I'm interested in the reasons behind my migraines. There are some pyschosomatic reasons why they might recur but they can be controlled by drugs so the truth will probably never be revealed!
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