This book is a contribution to the understanding of psychosomatic health problems. Inspired by the work of the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty, a phenomenological theory of psychosomatics is worked out as an alternative to traditional, biomedical thinking. The patient who presents somatic symptoms with no clearly discernible lesion or dysfunction presents a problem to the traditional health care system. These symptoms are medically unexplainable, constituting an anomaly for the materialistic understanding of ill health that underlies the practice of modern medicine. The traditional biomedical model is not appropriate for understanding a number of health issues that we call “psychosomatic” and for this reason, biomedical theory and practice must be complemented by another theoretical understanding in order to adequately grasp the psychosomatic problematic. This book establishes a complementary understanding of psychosomatic ill health in terms of a non-reductionistic model allowing for the (psychosomatic) expression of the lived body. A thorough presentation of the work Merleau-Ponty is followed by the author’s application of his thinking to the phenomenon of psychosomatic pathology.
About the Author
Jennifer Bullington's research is concerned mainly with issues surrounding the theoretical understanding of psychosomatic conditions (mind – body problem) and how the care, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with complicated psychosomatic symptoms and diseases can be improved. Her doctoral dissertation from 1999 (published as well in book form) is a systematized philosophical analysis of psychosomatic theories, including a presentation of my own alternative phenomenological theory of psychosomatics inspired by the work of the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Table of Contents
Introduction.- Chapter 1. The Psychosomatic Problematic.- Chapter 2. The Lived Body.- Chapter 3. The Meaning of Meaning.- Chapter 4.The Lived Body (Phenomenologyof Perception) and the Flesh (The Visibleand the Invisible).-Chapter 5.The Phenomenological Psychosomatic Theory.- Chapter 6. Health and Illness and Holistic Health.- Chapter 7. Conclusions.