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J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 1991 Jun;22(2):103-12.

Enhancement of physicians' treatment of illness by behavior therapy.

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Villanova University.


The author criticizes physicians who cling to the conventional belief that successful diagnosis and treatment of physical symptoms can only be handled by medical interventions. He describes the behavioral treatment of three patients who had been treated for almost two years unsuccessfully by medical specialists and who improved significantly with behavioral interventions. A physician who lacks the psychological information that illuminates the environmental and personal contingencies that help to initiate, support, and maintain a patient's symptoms--information such as that obtained by a behavioral analysis--risks deriving a deceptive image of the illness, extends treatment time, prolongs suffering, augments the risk of iatrogenic complications, and increases treatment costs.

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