Jean Benjamin Stora has worked as a psychoanalyst and psychosomatist for almost five decades. The aim of integrative psychosomatics is to heal the body and mind in relationship to one another rather than treating the body as a machine with parts to be fixed. Thus, Stora explores a patient’s current and past life history in relation to physical illness and offers therapeutic support alongside medical treatments. To better understand this revolutionary approach, Stora presents fifteen case studies from the past twenty years. We read of George suffering from hyperlipidemia; Giles, a diabetic facing amputation; Elvira, an alcoholic; Dorothy, who complains the doctors treat body parts but not her; Beatrice facing a reappearance of breast cancer; and ten further patients. This complex process takes into account the fundamental role of the central nervous system in the relationship of mind and body. Thus, neuroscience is a key component of this holistic approach, as well as the new discipline of neuropsychoanalysis. This is most clearly shown in the case of Emma, suffering after brain surgery.
The Psychosomatic Therapy Casebook is an excellent introduction to integrative psychosomatics. The stories presented in the first four chapters can be read by anyone with an interest in the subject. The fifth and final chapter is aimed at psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, and doctors looking to gain a greater understanding of the practice. It contains a comprehensive review of the technical points involved and clearly shows the difference between psychoanalytic technique and the technique of psychosomatic therapy. This is an important book in learning to treat the person as a whole rather than split into mind and body.