Body-to-Body-Communication and Somatoform Disorder in China: A Case Study Regarding Culture and Gender

Diplomatus Rerum Socialium, Body Psychotherapist, Bochum, Germany

Private Health Sector, Wuhan, China

Private Health Sector, Shanghai China


Somatoform disorder and somatic symptom disorder (SSD) are resistant to traditional medical support. Patients experience a vicious cycle of focused awareness/attention towards distressing bodily sensations. A negative interpretation of these phenomena leads to “worrying, cognitive styles” concerning the body (body-image, which enhances further self-awareness/self-observation) towards unpleasant bodily sensations and hyper-arousal. Body-psychotherapy may be one approach appropriate in dealing with these disorders and syndromes. This article addresses the concept of creative body-work, defines its basic guidelines and aims, and demonstrates a practical approach to support patient familiarization with body-self-experience and how to establish a basic contact (relationship) and control the vicious negative cycle. A positive working definition of somatoform disorder would include the following: illness perception and illness attribution; illness behaviour; health-related anxiety; emotional distress; disability; quality of life; doctor-patient-interaction and health care utilisation. This article relates to specific cultural aspects working with patients in China within a one-day professional workshop including clinical observations and analysis. It also refers to the gender perspective. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics more and more also have to consider these perspectives.


  • Body psychotherapy
  • Somatoform disorder
  • Body experience
  • Somatic symptom disorder
  • Medically unexplained symptoms
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • Gender perspective

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