How to Reach Emotions with Psychosomatic Patients: A Case Report
Gwenaëlle Colaianni, Francoise Poot
Alopecia areata (patchy hairloss) often indicates to the dermatologist the existence of psychological disorders, mostly anxiety and depression. Psychosomatic conditions are usually associated with difficulty in expressing emotions, as is the case in alexithymia, and this difficulty is often seen in patients with alopecia areata. This case study aims to show how to help these patients connect with their emotions and how the somatic symptom can become meaningful by using a unifying approach, which challenges the beliefs, the rules and the interactions of both the individual and the family, as well as the emotions expressed or suppressed. In this particular case we used a systemic family therapy tool, “the family blazon” that helped to discover the unconscious myth of unity and the fear of family disaggregation that is involved in psychosomatic families.