Tuesday, November 6, 2001, 8:00 PM

The Mind, Bodily Symptoms, and Physical Diseases: Some Reflections on a Century of Psychoanalytic Thought

author: Richard M. Gottlieb, M.D.

discussant: Philip R. Muskin, M.D.

A complex and tragic case of psychosomatic illness highlights psychoanalytic interest in the mind-body problem over the past century. Freud and Janet explained the physical symptoms of hysteria using radically different models of the mind. Janet's model, once banished, has returned to haunt the castle of psychoanalysis. Tonight's presentation traces influences of Janet's model on Marty and de M'Uzan, Sifneos, LeDoux, Bucci and others and reviews the influences of Freud's model on Groddeck, Alexander, and McDougall. The placebo effect is reconsidered as a psychosomatic fantasy. The author makes a plea for a measure of humility in the face of the current uncertain state of our knowledge, urging that we approach our patients' physical illnesses with an attitude of investigative curiosity.