The somatically preoccupied patient in primary care: use of attachment theory to strengthen physician-patient relationships
Miller, Robert C
MetadataShow full item record
Background Individuals with somatic preoccupation constitute a substantial number of primary care patients. Somatically preoccupied patients are challenging to primary care physicians for several reasons including patient complaints consuming a great deal of physician time, expense to diagnose and treat and strain on the physician-patient relationship. This paper examines and discusses how disruptions in early attachment relationships such as often occurs when a female is a victim of child sexual abuse may result in somatic preoccupation in adulthood. Treatment utilizing attachment theory Attachment theory provides a useful framework for primary care physicians to conceptualize somatic preoccupation. Utilization and containment techniques grounded in an understanding of attachment dynamics aid the physician in developing a sound physician-patient relationship. Successfully engaging the patient in treatment prevents misunderstandings that frequently derail medical care for somatically preoccupied patients.