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Adv Psychosom Med. 2012;32:1-18. doi: 10.1159/000329997. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Principles of psychosomatic assessment.

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  • 1Laboratory of Psychosomatics and Clinimetrics, Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.


There is increasing awareness of the limitations of disease as the primary focus of medical care. It is not that certain disorders lack an organic explanation, but that our assessment is inadequate in most clinical encounters. The primary goal of psychosomatic medicine is to correct this inadequacy by incorporation of its operational strategies into clinical practice. At present, the research evidence which has accumulated in psychosomatic medicine offers unprecedented opportunities for the identification and treatment of medical problems. Taking full advantage of clinimetric methods (such as with the use of Emmelkamp's two levels of functional analysis and the Diagnostic Criteria for Psychosomatic Research) may greatly improve the clinical process, including shared-decision making and self-management. Endorsement of the psychosomatic perspective may better clarify the pathophysiological links and mechanisms underlying symptom presentation. Pointing to individually targeted methods may improve final outcomes and quality of life.

Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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