Time 1930-1939
Title Psychosomatic Medicine
Event Mind-body study officially begins. The writings of psychoanalyst Franz Alexander and physician Helen Flanders Dunbar launch the field of "psychosomatic" medicine. Helen Flanders Dunbar publishes a scholarly paper in 1935 called Emotions and Bodily Changes: A survey of Literature on Psychosomatic Interrelationships. In it, she coins the word "psychosomatic" from a combination of the Greek words psyche (mind) and soma (body). Dunbar establishes the journal Psychosomatic Medicine in 1938 and helps found the American Psychosomatic Society in 1942, effectively launching the field.

Franz Alexander draws a distinction between classical mental illnesses and disorders of organ function related to disturbances of the autonomic nervous system. This approach disputed the prevailing notion (espoused by psychoanalysts such as Georg Groddeck) which drew no boundary between illnesses of the mind and body. Psychosomatic medicine proposes that psychic stimuli can trigger a chain of physiological responses that can affect bodily function and somatic disease. Dunbar surveys a range of physical illnesses and personality types and at first correlates personality types with diseases. Later Dunbar emphasizes the importance of emotions in disease.

Bodily diseases such as peptic ulcer and coronary artery disease are associated with psychic stimuli and personality types.

Dunbar obtains degrees in both divinity and medicine and is committed to integrating religion and science. She co-founds the Clinical Pastoral Education movement to provide clinical training to theological students and also studies religion as a unifying factor in personal life and its role in healing.

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