Integrative psychosomatics is a new approach to explaining illnesses and how patients relate to their problems. This new discipline draws on psychoanalysis, medicine and the neurosciences, rather than solely on psychoanalysis, which has inspired all the psychosomatic approaches until now. Amongst the fascinating and compelling questions that this book raises are: how can we understand an illness if we only analyse the psyche? How can we understand patients if we only take account of their biological data? Are hypochondriac problems generated by the mind, as some doctors believe, or are the problems in fact more complex? The author also considers whether traditional psychoanalysis and medicine might actually distance practitioners from an understanding of patients and illnesses. For integrative psychosomatics, the psyche or the mind can play either a greater or lesser role in illness: advances in research in the neurosciences and biology over the last twenty years have uncovered many biological and genetic processes involved in the relations between the central nervous system and the other systems that constitute the human psychosomatic entity. Consequently, we can now understand illnesses much better and care for patients with regard to how they relate to their illnesses.
Jean Benjamin Stora is a psychoanalyst and psychosomatician, and a consultant in psychosomatics at la Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, Paris. In 2006 he established the university diploma in integrative psychosomatics, psychoanalysis, medicine and the neurosciences, which he co-directs at the Faculte de Medecine, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris 6. He was president of the Pierre Marty Institute of Psychosomatics from 1989 to 1992, and of the Societe Francaise de Medecine Psychosomatique from 2000 to 2002. He is the author of many books, including 'Le Stress, Quand le corps prend la releve: stress traumatismes et maladies somatiques, Vivre avec une greffe: accueillir l'autre, Neuropsychanalyse, Controverses et Dialogues, When the Body Displaces the Mind', and 'La nouvelle approche psychosomatique: cas cliniques'.