International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 13 Num. 2 - June 2013


Psychological Process in Somatization: Emotion as Process

Volume 13 Num. 2 - June 2013 - Pages 255-270


Manuel S?nchez Garc


The term somatization has generated confusion since it was originally formulated. This conceptual difficulty leads to limitations in the development of diagnostic processes, in advancing the theoretical knowledge, and the establishment of a significantly effective treatment. Given the various multi-causal factors such as enviromental, genetic, biological and psychosocial, the emotional processes or cognitive-emotional processes could provide an emotional-integrative factor that has been little studied. This paper reviews the latest research on the processes that integrate cognition and emotion associated with somatization, using a search for articles in English and Spanish on MEDLINE and Dialnet from 2002 to 2012, with the search terms ?somatization?, ?emotion? and ?mental process?. It has been studied processes such as emotional recognition, attentional processes, cognitive reappraisal, expectation and the mediation of negative affectivity inter alia. Neurophysiological research highlights the activity of the prefrontal areas, the amygdala and cingulate cortex in subjects with somatization, suggesting a deficit in emotional regulation processes that modulates the Central Nervous System. Finally, the relevance of some treatment approaches are speculated and some lines of cognitive-emotional processes research in somatization are suggested.

Key words:

somatoform disorders, emotion, mental processes

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