Somatisation in a 15-minute consultation

Tuesday, 24 September 2019. 7.30 - 8.45 pm

Somatisation is the expression in physical symptoms of psychological distress.

This includes illnesses with or without organic pathology. Surprisingly there is still very little medical education about this common dynamic of human illness experience.

Dr Brett Mann discussed easily implemented approaches which enable you to take a history, recognise patterns of somatising illness, and safely make a positive diagnosis of somatisation.

This contrasts with the inefficiency of ‘diagnosis by exclusion’. You will learn how to help patients shift from a physical to a psychosocial focus, and how to safely manage these illnesses in a general practice context. Frustrating consultations become efficient, interesting and satisfying!


  • Common patterns of somatising illness.
  • How to easily ‘set the scene’ to discuss somatisation so patients don’t respond with ‘You think I’m imagining it,’ ‘You think it’s all in my head,’ ‘You think I’m not coping.’
  • How to safely make a positive diagnosis based on what is there, not a diagnosis of exclusion based on what is not there.
  • Four standard questions.
  • Management; including recognising that many patients decide what to do themselves once they understand the connection between life circumstances and their symptoms.

Throughout this live online event, you will have the opportunity to type questions to Brett via the onscreen text system. Please note that the webinar may run slightly over time so as many of your questions as possible can be answered.




Dr Brett Mann

General Practitioner, Medical Educator

Brett has been in general practice for 32 years at the Ilam Medical Centre in Christchurch. He has been a medical educator in the GPEP1 programme since 2008.  He has provided over thirty seminars for registrars, GPs and medical educators on somatisation.  Recently he was invited to provide a seminar for the Christchurch gastroenterologists.


Webinar supported by:

This presentation is intended for qualified health practitioners professional development and should not be relied upon for any other purpose. Any opinions offered are those of the presenter or other speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of Goodfellow Unit.

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