[Somatisizing patients. Concrete recommendations for a stepwise therapy in general practice].MMW Fortschr Med. 2000 Mar 02; 142(9):37-8.MF
Patients with physical symptoms but no detectable organic substrate often present a challenge for the family doctor. The therapeutic approach discussed herein focuses on the development of a psychosomatic model of the problem. In this step-by-step approach, the patient's subjective understanding of, and attitude towards, his illness and its treatment are established, alternative psychosomatic models of disease based on a consideration of psychophysiological interactions are worked out jointly with the patient, and, finally, thought is given to the current complaints within the context of the patient's personality and life situation. The basis for successful treatment is an empathic and sound doctor-patient relationship based on trust that gives the patient the feeling that he and his problem are being taken seriously. The prerequisite for the use of such a program is appropriate training in basic psychosomatic care.