Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


Few would dispute the existence of a general tendency to blame psychological ailments on physical problems. For example, we often attribute changes in mood to the somatic effects of the weather, irritability to diet, apathy to physical exhaustion, etc. How many of us can deny at some time having attempted to explain to our spouses that an outburst of temper was really the fault of our indigestion, let us say? Of course, our spouses are rather skeptical. And as psychiatrists we too preserve a skepticism towards the explanations of this kind which our patients so often provide. This is not to say that we render meaningless the influence of somatic factors on the psyche, but only to acknowledge that unconscious processes operate in devious and wily ways, and that a psychological principle independent of these psychosomatic relations seems to be hard at work. In extreme cases, excessive and overriding concern for physical status is unequivocally indicative of a major psychiatric disturbance- and the processes of denial and displacement are observable in purer culture, as it were. But we must not ignore the attempt at self-cure inherent in such tendencies, the acknowledgment of which might lead to efficacious therapeutic interventions. Indeed, as resident psychiatrists, circumstances permit us to practice a type of brief psychotherapy which has long been utilized, albeit in an uncomprehending, intuitive manner. Glover (1931) had laid th e theoretic groundwork for the technique I am about to describe, in his brilliant and far-reaching paper on inexact interpretation (the perusal of which is strongly recommended to the reader), which consequently warrants a brief discussion.

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