The contemporary model of illness, at least as I understand it, accepts that the whole body is involved in ongoing and complex interactions between its component elements (from molecules to cells, organs, systems, and the person as a thinking and feeling being). These elements influence each other through extremely convoluted and, probably, unpredictable ways. In short, there is no clear distinction as far as our bodies are concerned between what I do and what I think of doing or how I feel about doing it. To give one example: when I say that depression has an impact on pain, this is tantamount to saying that the physiological, biochemical, and behavioural consequences of low mood interact with the body to regulate the signals that are ultimately responsible for my reports of being in pain.
With this model in mind, it appears sensible to me to propose that the biopsychosocial model is, in fact, essentially synonymous with the biomedical model; the biopsychosocial model merely explicitly highlights to us that the body functions as a whole. What physically changes in us, what we think about, and what we feel all impact on our physiology (changing our chemistry, how our neurons fire, etc.). This is all biomedical even though, these days, many of us see the latter as a dirty word. In fact, I would suggest that in a very important way, distinguishing biopsychosocial from the biomedical affirms that a qualitative difference exists between how our “mind” and our “body” interact with our physiology.
What is and what is not biopsychosocial treatment
I recently read an interesting article from Vraceany et al titled “Less specific arm illnesses”. The authors make some very good points about what are frequently futile clinical approaches. However, t…