How to cite this work:
De la Serna, J.M. (2017). The challenge of Psychosomatic Medicine. In J.M. De la Serna,
Psychosomatic Disorders II. Hackensack: Babelcube Inc., 31-32.
THE CHALLENGE OF PSYCHOSOMATIC MEDICINE
Juan Moisés de la Serna
Different explanatory theories on the origin and maintenance of the
psychosomatic affections exist. In spite of this, they are still scarcely used in the
medical practice, which is focused on attending the signs. Even though some
relevant psychological aspects are taken into account, like the perception of pain
or stress, medical practice avoids delving into, or exploring the personality of the
patient and their emotional history, as suggested by the different schools of
An investigation of the patient's personality would try to explore aspects such
as alexithymia, or in other words, the inability to express emotional experiences
due to a cognitive-emotional disturbance, preventing him or her from determining
and expressing his or her emotions.
A trait that has a close relation with health, as it can be observed in patients
with a high match to type C personality, who, due to an inability to express the
experience of negative emotions, are more prone to suffer psychosomatic
Also, people with a type C personality profile are submissive and compliant
to the rules, underestimating their own desires and impulses to fulfill the ones of
the others; similar to the concept of personality characterized by a repressive
superego, hyperadapted to reality and with a tendency to nullify one's own
A special emphasis is on the contribution to communication through the body,
at an early age, given by a lack of linguistic development; moving from the
psychological to the physical, without any elaboration, the process is opposed to
mentalization, hence the lack of representation of the condition.
Some authors have proposed that the doctor should become a researcher of
the emotional history of the patient. Many of the necessary facts to understand
the patient will be found in the way they relate, as well as the way they live and
express their emotions.
Moving on to follow-up work in the therapeutic process, this will include both
the intervention on the signs and symptoms and on the personality structure that
supports them. This way, the person learns to get acquainted with his or her
desires and needs; moreover, him or her will know how to use the right tools to
express desires and needs, as well as to satisfy them or to withstand frustration.