Concluding discussion

Scand J Work Environ Health 1997;23 suppl 3:105-112    pdf

On the nature and origin of psychosomatic symptoms


The concluding discussion of the symposium The Environmental Syndrome -- Psychosomatic Experience Induced by Environmental Factors was held as a tribute to Professor Georg Klein, a distinguished scientist, cancer researcher, philosopher, and writer. The intention was to make possible a discussion where the experts in the field of psychosomatic disorders could approach the aspects presented by a scientist of molecular biology and cancer research -- fields of medicine which are as far as possible from psychiatry. On the basis of his own life experiences, Professor Klein can be regarded as a person who has overcome experiences, which, for most people would lay a foundation for profound psychosomatic symptomatology. His cultural background and his way of coping, however, illustrate how such experiences can be converted into strengthening of the mind, into intellectual advantages and into heightened creativity. The discussion commenced with an interview, in which Professor Edward Shorter, a leading medical historian with special interest in psychosomatics, through his questions to Professor Klein, helped recreate a vivid picture of the background of one of the great personalities in today's medical science. From this the participants were able to see how positive and negative stressors act in the formation of personality.