In this issue the remaining papers in the series on psychosomatic medicine round out the broad overview of the subject. Optimism was high in the decade from 1945 to 1955 that the relationships between psychological conflict and organ dysfunction were going to be solved soon. The idea seemed plausible that when certain types of people were subject to strong emotional conflicts they would develop predictable physical symptoms of a particular organ or system. Gradually it became apparent that this concept was too simple; the relationship existed, but the variables were too numerous to correlate with precision. The loss of interest in the concept of psychosomatic medicine was only temporary; it is now realized that the factors involved in the choice of symptoms to express distress are far more complex than was originally thought. As these factors were elucidated one by one, the boundaries between psychiatry and internal medicine became less distinct- indeed, often indistinguishable.
This series of papers has been offered in the hope that they will contribute toward the ideal of developing an acute awareness of the subtler interactions of conflict and symptom formation and thus aid in more effective management of patients, whether treated by psychiatrists or any other physicians. The editors of Psychiatric Annals wish to express their profound thanks to Dr. Greenblatt and his colleagues for their comprehensive presentation of the various issues involved in promoting this ideal.