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General description:

This is an introductory course which has the purpose to make the students familiar with the theoretical bases of Psychosomatics (PS), with the most prevalent challenges in dealing with psychosomatic patients and with the most widely used methods for their prevention and management.



The course comprises 7 lectures which supplement the introductory notions of Medical Psychology taught in the first semester. Learning should be an interactive process, so students are encouraged to ask questions during / after the course and submit constructive feedbacks regarding the course content.



At the end of the course the students should be able to:

- conceptualize a series of chronic conditions from a double perspective (medical and psychological);

- understand the necessity of counseling and psychotherapy in these conditions;

- collaborate with the therapist in a systematic way, in order to provide quality care to these patients.



The students should attend regularly the course and be active during the semester. It is recommended that the reading list be studied before each course.



Will be a based on a written test, at the end of the semester. The test will comprise single choice questions, multiple choice questions and the analysis of a clinical case. Course attendance and involvement during the semester can be considered a plus.




1. Introduction in Psychosomatics

History. Theoretical models. Recent theoretical developments in Psychosomatics and their importance in clinical practice.


2. Cardiovascular diseases

Psychopathogenic variables involved in the onset and evolution of cardiovascular diseases. Description of the most prevalent PS cardiovascular diseases (high blood pressure, myocardial infarctus, pectoral angina, cardiac failure, arrhythmias). Psychological correlates of cardiovascular surgery. Cardiac rehabilitation.


3. Respiratory diseases

Psychopathogenic mechanisms in respiratory diseases (examples: COPD, bronchial asthma, tuberculosis). Psychological reactions in respiratory diseases (example bronchial asthma). The issue of adherence in respiratory diseases. Psychological intervention in respiratory diseases (opportunities and challenges). Pulmonary rehabilitation.


4. Digestive diseases

Psychopathogenic mechanisms in digestive disease. Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID). Behavior in chronic digestive diseases (examples). The psychotherapeutic approach of patients with FGID and chronic PS digestive diseases.


5. Renal diseases

Chronic renal disease. The psychological impact of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Behavior in chronic renal disorders (examples). Behavioral modeling in renal diseases.


6. Cancer

The psychological impact of cancer diagnosis. Coping with cancer. The psychological assistance of cancer patients.


7. The role of psychotherapy in PS diseases

The balance counseling – psychotherapy. The role of the clinical psychologist in the therapeutic team. Cognitive-behavioral therapy. Relaxation and hypnosis. Family therapy. Group therapy.  


References (* = mandatory for the exam):


1.      *Popa-Velea, O. (2015). Behavioral Sciences in Medicine (2nd Edition), Ed.Universitară Carol Davila, Bucureşti, (vol.2: pag.257-276, 277-287, 288-303, 304-319, 320-337) (în ediţia I din 2010: pag.245-264, 265-275, 276-291, 292-307, 308-326);



2.      Malcarne, V. (2011). Coping with cancer, în Friedman, H.S. The Oxford Handbook of Health Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, pag.394-416;

3.      Fava, G.A., Cosci, F., Sonino, N. (2017). Current Psychosomatic Practice. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 86, 13-30;

4.      Ginting, H., van de Ven, M., Becker, E.S., Näring, G. (2014). Type D personality is associated with health behaviors and perceived social support in individuals with coronary heart disease. Journal of Health Psychology, 21 (5): 727-737.

5.      Chen, Q., Wu, C., Gao, Y., Chen, L., Liu, Y. (2015). A clinical study on the role of psychosomatic therapy in evaluation and treatment of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease complicated with anxiety-depression disorder. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, 8 (9): 16613–16619.

6.      Keightley, P.C., Koloski, N.A., Talley, N.J. (2015). Pathways in gut-brain communication: Evidence for distinct gut-to-brain and brain-to-gut syndromes. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 49 (3): 207-214.

7.      Olagunju, A.T., Campbell, E.A., Adeyemi, J.D. (2015). Interplay of anxiety and depression with quality of life in end-stage renal disease. Psychosomatics. 56 (1): 67-77.




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