Diagnosis: What Is the Patient Really Trying to Say?

Most of today's doctors learned in medical school that when a patient makes a big thing of some minor symptom, his real complaint is not the physical ailment but an emotional problem.

Trouble is, the knowledge is all too seldom put to use. So 80 family doctors got together with a scattering of psychiatrists for a Palm Springs conference sponsored by the University of South ern California and the National Institute of Mental Health. They spent a long weekend working out means of putting into practice what everyone accepts in theory.

"Take Care of Me." Many patients, U.S.C.'s Psychiatrist Edward...

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