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American Psychosomatic Society

  1. William R. Lovallo

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0049

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Lovallo, W. R. 2010. American Psychosomatic Society. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. VA Medical Center and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Founded in 1942, the American Psychosomatic Society (APS) was one of the first medical societies to be dedicated to the integration of biology, psychology, and social factors in medicine. This integration grew out of an understanding that the state of the mind could influence the health of the body, as shown by twentieth-century physiologists, including Walter Cannon. Psychosomatic concepts also grew out of observations by psychoanalysts of patients who had physical symptoms that were not explained by purely medical causes. Drawing upon these insights, the APS was formed through the work of a New York Academy of Medicine committee headed by Dr. Helen Flanders Dunbar, a pioneer trained in medicine and religion, who compiled a bibliography of the “psychosomatic” medical literature, published in 1935 as “Emotions and Bodily Changes.” In 1936, the Josiah Macy, Jr., Foundation began financial support for psychosomatic studies and, along with the National Health Council in 1939, underwrote the publication of a new journal, Psychosomatic Medicine. The APS was subsequently formed as a medical society and held its first Annual Meeting in New York in 1942.