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

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


Vol 4, No 2: 2017
Qualitative Study(ies)
August 11, 2017


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.

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