oa South African Medical Journal - Our patients are alive : an approach to the practice of psychosomatic medicine

Volume 26, Issue 9
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Two psychosomatic cases have been descriptionbed, and their case histories as elicited by analytical psychotherapy have been demonstrated. They illustrate the need to approach the sick individual in his totality as a psychosomatic environmental-being, living in Time. In a general discussion, the factors in medical practice and philosophy which prevent this total approach to the patient are mentioned. These include the materialistic bias of the medical schools in favour of anatomy and physiology, which results in a materialistic compartmental treatment of the human organism in clinical practice. It is suggested that a new and more holistic conception of the human being as the object of medical practice is required, in order to effect a re-orientation of all branches of medical practice. In order to achieve this new conception, it is not enough to graft a 'psychological attitude' on to training in scientific materialism. But it is necessary to appreciate the basic importance of the subjective psychic factors in the healthy integration of the total organism.

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