Health & Chronic Illness

Relational Psychosomatic Psychotherapy

Relational Psychosomatic Psychotherapy is a model of psychotherapy that is of great value, helping people who suffer from conditions such as:

  • Chronic pain, headaches, asthma, allergies, epilepsy, hypertension, endocrine disorders, etc
  • Auto-immune diseases
  • Cancers

or any other physical illness or conditions where a particular relational life event or stressor situation is suspected to be behind a specific physical illness or condition.

Therapeutic approach

This approach aims at reaching and understanding a unique human being, at a critical time of their life (their illness or ill-physical condition), as a unit that transcend any separation between soul and body.

The physical illness, or ill-condition, is seen to have been taken place in a potential relational difficulty (that involves equally the mind and the body) and characterised by a conflictive situation - present or past – that has developed into an “existential impasse” (a gridlock), following an unsolvable stressful conflictive and pain producing experience, such as traumas or “double bind” relational dilemmas, related to a particular situation or relationship.

This original therapeutic approach does not consider the stressor situation or the “mind-body” impasse involving the unsolvable relational conflict (the gridlock), as a linear causation of the illness or ill-condition, but as a stressor which weakens the mind-body ability for adaptation and health. This internal gridlock weakens the complex psycho-neuro-immune system to resist efficiently the psychosocial, emotional and genetic stressors that each particular individual is subject to at various periods of their life - infancy, childhood, teenager or adulthood.

Aims of treatment

Relational Psychosomatic Psychotherapy aims at exploring, breaking down and understanding this relational impasse in its past or present context. The therapeutic process is helped by a non-judgmental, empathetic, creative and perceptive presence and input of the therapist. This therapeutic process is mediated by the presence of this later, and the exploration of the body, soul, dreams and emotions. This has the potential effect of dissolving the impasse; as the person has changed through the therapeutic space, time and work; they recover their previously undermined mind-body identity and their life generating potential force.

We can say that the most decisive conflict, in these situations, has to do with the question of identity of the self (who we are, as different from others). As illustration, we can say that in allergy the possibility of affirming our self as different from others is not definitely acquired. In case of autoimmune disease, this differentiation in the self exists already but it is lost afterwards for different reasons. And in cancer the impasse/gridlock, does not concern primarily the possibility of being different, but rather the possibility of simply “being and existing”.

Find a Therapist

Fadi Nasrallah (Ponsonby, Avondale & Oratia) is a registered psychotherapist, osteopath and homeopath with specialist training and skills in relational psychosomatic psychotherapy.