Persistent somatic symptoms (i.e., chronic pain, fatigue, gastrointestinal and neurologic symptoms) that are associated with stress are highly prevalent and cause much suffering to millions of people all over the world. "Somatic symptom disorders," "functional disorders," "fibromyalgia," "irritable bowel syndrome," "somatization," or "medically unexplained symptoms" - are just some of the many terms patients hear in the medical offices regarding their symptoms. Patients with psychosomatic distress often dwell at the interface between psychiatry and medicine, and can't find needed help in either discipline. Physicians of multiple specialties often struggle to find ways to help their patients; and we still have a paucity of mental health clinicians trained to provide specialized psychosomatic treatments.

Our annual Columbia Psychosomatic Conferences are aimed at bridging this gap. Recent advances in translational research and clinical practice suggest better understanding of the etiology of somatic symptom disorders and effective clinical approaches to treating these debilitating conditions. Each year, we focus on a particular topic within the field and invite leading researchers and clinicians in the world to present on the advances in the field, as well as to conduct workshops and group discussions with our multidisciplinary audience.

This year, the 4th Columbia Psychosomatics Conference is focused on multidisciplinary psychosomatic care. It will cover identification and diagnosis of somatic symptom disorders, most current approaches to treating patients at various levels of severity, as well as the ways to facilitate psychosomatic treatment among patients who often do not accept needed care. The majority of patients with somatic symptom disorders first present in a medical office: primary care, internal medicine, cardiology, gastroenterology, infectious disease, pain, neurology, rehabilitation medicine offices. We are excited to bring experts in psychosomatic care from various sub-disciplines and from around the world to present on how we can implement the latest neuroscience and brain-body research into clinical practice, and how various disciplines can work together to help these challenging to treat patients in truly interdisciplinary ways.

Conference Director: Alla Landa, PhD
Conference Organizing Committee: Alla Landa, PhD, Harald Guendel, MD, Brian A. Fallon, MD and Philip R. Muskin, MD