[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
May 29, 1948


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, Temple University Medical School.

JAMA. 1948;137(5):442-448. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890390020004

I speak as a practitioner of medicine and not as a psychiatrist, and that is a different matter. When a patient comes to the psychiatrist he comes prepared to discuss his emotional problems, but when he consults a general physician he is almost always looking for a physical cause for his trouble.

But in at least one third of all the patients who consult a physician no definite bodily disease can be found to account for the illness, and in another one third of all patients the symptoms are not explained by, or are out of proportion to, any organic disease that can be discovered. In this group of patients are many in whom there seems to be a definite relationship between the emotional life and the physical disease; in other words, the emotional factor apparently plays an important part in causing the disorder. This is the group to which