The Bumpy Road to Changing Our Name

I saw a letter to the Editor in the March-April 2017 issue of Psychosomatics from a senior resident looking forward to entering a fellowship in Psychosomatic Medicine but lamenting the choice of name for the specialty [1]. Dr. Montalvo ends her letter saying,

A strong foundation has been created on the word “Psychosomatics”; however, this history alone should not be a reason to remain hidden behind an ambiguity that puts the future of our field at risk. By creating a new and clear name and updated mission statement, we as a specialty can rebrand ourselves as psychiatrists of the future.

Can it be that she’s not aware of the longstanding controversy about the name “Psychosomatic Medicine” and that a change is afoot? If she wants to read an erudite discussion of the unfortunate name, I recommend Don R. Lipsitt’s book, Foundations of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry: The Bumpy Road to Specialization. Don is a major wheel in Consult-Liaison Psychiatry and doesn’t care for the current name of our specialty either.

Furthermore, the flagship organization for C-L Psychiatry, the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine (APM) has just announced the results of a survey of its membership which may lead to changing the name to C-L Psychiatry.


1.Montalvo, C. and D. M. Robinson “What is Psychosomatics? Lessons Learned Regarding the Importance of a Name.” Psychosomatics 58(2): 215-216.