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Montanelli, R.P. (1975). Interaction Between Psychiatrist and Doctor. Contemp. Psychoanal., 11:117-119.

(1975). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 11:117-119

Interaction Between Psychiatrist and Doctor

Roberto Pedro Montanelli, M.D.


AGREEMENT AS TO THE IMPORTANCE of psychological factors in all human suffering is becoming more and more general everyday. The inclusion of psychological concepts in medical training is favored by most schools at present.

However, the problem of considering the patient as a whole, and the suggestion that there are no illnesses but sick people, presents a series of difficulties not yet solved.

A patient seeing a doctor, does so explicitly to be cured of illness. Besides this manifest content, there are present, implicit in the relationship, important elements of correspondence with those of the mother in pre-verbal stage. The doctor touches, searches, asks, tries to relieve pain, worries about, takes care of, and heals; he behaves very much like a mother who looks after her baby and tries to prevent him from pain and suffering.

This image of "healing mother or protective father—doctor" plays an important role, not only in patients with somatic diseases, but also in those who look for psychoanalytic treatment because of emotional disturbances. The "naive" patient expects from his analyst similar treatment to that received from former physicians. It is an internal object: a motherfather physician that cures.

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