Psychoanalysis.  2013 Oct;24(2):78-85.

Psychotherapy for Patients Complaining with Somatic Symptoms

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea.


Patients complaining with somatic symptoms are very common in clinical practice, but difficult to treat well. Therapist treating these patients have to know not only psychiatric biological treatment but also psychotherapeutic approach. Somatization is a process which the body is used for psychological purposes. I reviewed historical background, psychoanalytical concepts, and various psychotherapeutic approaches of somatization. Early in the treatment, therapists have to begin psychotherapeutic treatment with warm, sensitive, nonprobing, empathetic supportive approach, respecting the patients's incomplete psychic structure. And then the patients could be treated with intensive or psychoanalytic approach. Psychoanalysis continues an important theoretical and practical role in treating patients complaining with somatic symptoms. I suggest that psychiatrists should know how to treat patients complaining with somatic symptoms by psychotherapeutic approach, so that it will be helpful to these patients and to make better outcome.


Somatic symptoms; Somatization; Psychosomatic disorder; Psychotherapy
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