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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 246-255

Teaching Somatoform Disorders in a ''Nervous System and Behaviour'' Course: The Opportunities and Limitations of Problem-Based Learning

Department of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (Psychiatric Clinic), University of Munich, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Eckhard Frick
Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst, Abt. fur Psychotherapie und Psychosomatik, Psychiatrische Klinik und Poliklinik der LMU, Nussbaumstrasse 7, D-80336 Muenchen
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Purpose: To determine the opportunities and limitations of problembased learning (PBL) in psychosomatic medicine, especially in the field of somatoform disorders. Method: A written case of conversion neurosis of a 22-year-old subway worker, who had been suffering from dizziness for the past 18 months, was presented to students as one of seven cases during a ''Nervous System and Behaviour'' course. Results: Tutors and students are normally accustomed to focusing on organic lesions such as aetiologies for neuro-psychiatric disorders. Understanding behavioural and pseudo-neurological symptomatology without brain damage, accepting emotional and biographical factors and referring to the role of the unconscious seems to be a great challenge for tutors and students alike. Discussion: Studying the case of a somatoform syndrome in a PBL tutorial may teach the students skills in taking the psychosocial history into account and deepen their knowledge of neuro-psychiatric differential diagnosis.

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