Physical "phantasies" and family functions: overcoming the mind/body dualism in somatization

Fam Process. 1999 Fall;38(3):371-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.1999.00371.x.


In this article, we examine some of the ways in which family therapists have conceptualized the experience of illness of unexplained physical origin. We argue that opinions about the etiology of somatic symptoms should not be the primary focus of therapeutic work with people who share the prototypical characteristics of what has been defined as "somatization disorder." We suggest that current research in neurobiology can expand the linguistic resources of clinicians and help them avoid perpetuating unhelpful dichotomies between the mind and the body.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Communication
  • Family Relations
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Fantasy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mind-Body Relations, Metaphysical*
  • Neuropsychology / trends
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Sensation / physiology
  • Sick Role*
  • Somatoform Disorders* / classification
  • Somatoform Disorders* / psychology
  • Somatoform Disorders* / therapy
  • Terminology as Topic