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Pollock, G.H. (1977). The Psychosomatic Specificity Concept: Its Evolution and Re-Evaluation. Ann. Psychoanal., 5:141-168.

(1977). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 5:141-168

The Psychosomatic Specificity Concept: Its Evolution and Re-Evaluation

George H. Pollock, M.D., Ph.D.


Although the field of psychosomatic medicine is ancient, and references in the Old Testament and Hippocrates could be easily found, the more or less systematic study of psychosomatic phenomena is but forty to fifty years old. I have personally been involved with some of these studies in Chicago for almost thirty years, and it was my good fortune to work closely with Alexander, French, and Benedek—pioneers in psychosomatic medicine.

Coming to psychoanalysis and psychiatry from neurophysiology, I brought with me some of the experiential effects of my work with Warren McCulloch and the other fertile investigators who worked in his laboratories. It was my interest then, and is my continuing interest now, in the mind-body problem that directed me to psychosomatic medicine. But as we know, there is no science of psychosomatic medicine; there is no specialty board for psychosomatic medicine; there is no degree offered in psychosomatic medicine; and there are no residencies in, or departments of, psychosomatic medicine. Peter Knapp called psychosomatic medicine “an interdisciplinary amalgam of many specialties” (1971p. 364).


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