Mechanisms in symptom formation

Mechanisms in symptom formation

Book reviews 165 Mechanisms in Symptom Formation. Proceedings of the International College of Psychosomatic Medicine, Amsterdam, June 1973. Editor: ...

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Book reviews

165

Mechanisms in Symptom Formation. Proceedings of the International College of Psychosomatic Medicine, Amsterdam, June 1973. Editor: H. MUSAPH. S. KARGER,Base], 1974. vii + 304 pp. Price $14. THIS collection of papers from the Second International Congress of Psychosomatic Medicine provides a coherently structured account of the divergent fields of psychosomatic medicine. The papers cover an extensive range of topics-developmental, consultation, social and transcultural psychiatry, biochemistry and immunology-and display the variety of theoretical and national approaches to psychosomatics. It is this comprehensive scope which impresses more than individual papers. Experienced workers in psychosomatics will find innovatory studies in such a broad compilation but the collection may be of greatest interest to the general hospital psychiatrist. There are excellent studies of consultation psychiatry techniques as well as papers on specific illnesses such as angina and migraine and the wide range of research models could stimulate further research ideas. For those with readier access to libraries than banks, the complete text is reprinted from Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Vol. 23, Nos. l-6 (1974). ALISTAIR M. GORDON

Psychiatry for Students. 4th Edition. DAVID STAFFORD-CLARK. George Allen & Unwin, 1974.225 pp. E2.65. THIS well known textbook presents its 4th edition in ten years and now appears in two volumes, the first of which is here reviewed. This, by the original author, covers adult psychiatry. The revision leaves some of the textbook with signs of ageing; the harassed houseman will look in vain for such a person as the mental welfare officer. Short textbooks for medical students need to be didactic: this book is didactic on matters both of fact and opinion and the reader should be warned of the possibility of alternative views. The conscious idiosyncrasy of the author is refreshing but must be kept in mind, especially where it impinges on nosology. There is a useful chapter on psychiatry and the law and the student will benefit from the 31 case histories. Completing the book is a 1Fpage cameo of clinical psychology by Donald Bannister, a lucid introduction to the subject for any medical student. PAUL BEBBINGTON

Social Psychology. P. F. SECORDand C. W. BACKMAN.McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1974. (Second Edition, f6.55) (International Student Edition, 53.60).

New York,

STUDENTS of psychosomatics may be tempted to feel secure in bypassing social psychology as irrelevant to their interests. Others may consider it a “soft” science-a mixture of common sense and unsubstantiated conjecture, lying uneasily between the two disciplines, which some think incompatible, of psychology and sociology. Both positions might almost have been supportable ten years ago when the first edition of this book, my favourite social psychology text book, came out. Neither is tenable, surely, now. There is growing recognition of the importance of social processes surrounding the development and treatment of almost all psychological disorders and some knowledge of developments in social psychology is necessary for anyone who wants to fully master his speciality. Furthermore, this new edition of Secord and Backman’s well-established text reflects the maturing of the subject that has taken place in the last decade. There has been a growing recognition of the way in which social and physiological variables interact, for example, and a far greater emphasis upon the importance of non-verbal elements of behaviour in communication processes. Supposedly fixed personality dispositions or traits are no longer stressed as determinants of behaviour to the exclusion of social role and social setting. Modelling and imitation occupy an even surer place as major processes whereby behaviour is transmitted from one person or group to another. If they recognize the potential importance of social psychology at all, readers of this journal would benefit from having this book to hand. JIM ORFORD