Pascal-Henri Keller

Psychosomatic Medicine Challenged Publication date : April 1, 1997

"Psychosomatic", "to somatize", "somatization" : these terms often heard in everyday language permit us to express a certain number of preconceived ideas. Many cancers, for example, are believed to be due to the loss of a loved one or to depression, if they are not the direct "cause" of the disease, itself. But in reality, it's not that simple. For although the existence of a psychosomatic condition is recognized by one and all, the difficulties begin when we try to understand and explain it.This book explores the multiple contradictions and ambiguities inherent to the process which attempts to understand the cohabitation of the mind and the body. It covers the quite absurd "ostracism" of and the aversion for phenomenons such as hyponosis by the "respectable" scientific community as well as some very strange experiences in the search for a little concrete psyche, goes on to the diverisity of the coteries constituted by psychosomaticians ... This book explores the contradictions and the ambiguities of a process whose aim is to understand the cohabitation of the mind and the body. Which rules the other, the mind or the body ? Should we try to dissociate their functioning or on the contrary, see them as constitutive elements of a unique entity ? Depending on the conception favored, what specific treatments are available to the patient ?Through his analysis of the heterogeneity of the possible answers to these questions, the author manages to bring forth a highly original perspective, based on listening to the patient rather than the scientific discourse : healing cannot evacuate the patient's need to talk. In the end, isn't the proper of the psychosomatic approach to turn the patient into an active collaborator, working with his doctor, and not a simple object of knowledge ?Pascal-Henry Keller is a clinical psychologist and lecturer at the University Victor-Segalen in Bordeaux (France).