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October 1956

A Theoretical and Experimental Approach to Problems of Anxiety

Author Affiliations


From the Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training of the Michael Reese Hospital.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1956;76(4):420-431. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1956.02330280078008

I  General laws of psychophysiology have not yet been satisfactorily formulated, despite decades of research by psychologists, psychiatrists, and biologists. In recent years a shift of emphasis toward a psychosomatic approach to problems of human illness has occurred. This has resulted in greater concern with research directly applied to specific illnesses in attempts to pinpoint the role of disturbed emotions in their etiology.An essential problem in psychosomatic research is the inherent difficulty in determining what factors in the personality and which of its past experiences should properly be correlated with the symptoms of an organ dysfunction. In clinical studies variables are chosen in the psychological and in the somatic systems, and, without clear understanding of their dynamic and temporal relations, they become the basis for the presumed etiological understanding of the psychosomatic disease. Such formulations, attempting to relate two discrete processes, necessarily neglect the mechanisms through which disturbances in one

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