What are psychosomatic symptoms?

Psychosomatic symptoms are physical complaints that cannot be explained (sufficiently) by medical procedures. For example, you experience a lot of nausea, but physical research shows there’s nothing wrong with your digestive system. Other kinds of symptoms may include:

The situation is so complicated because you definitely feel the symptoms, but there’s no physical explanation for it. You may get the feeling that doctors are getting tired of you or that nobody is taking you seriously enough. The symptoms are usually accompanied by a sense of fear or stress, because there is no explanation for it. The fear or stress makes the symptoms worse and then you can enter into a perpetual cycle.

Where do psychosomatic symptoms come from?

One of the causes of psychosomatic symptoms can be a combination of emotional experiences and physical challenges. For example, think about the knot in your stomach before you have to give a presentation or the burden that can be taken of your shoulders when a complicated task is completed. All our experiences have an impact on our entire system, in our mind and in our body. However, when these experiences can’t be properly processed and are suppressed, our bodies can give signals in the form of physical pains, such as long term stomachache or headache.


Our human system consists of all kinds of parts and when you don’t have enough space to develop them in a healthy way, a part of you can rebel by tensing up your neck or tiring you out. This can feel very scary, especially when it comes to vital functions like your heart or breath. Medical research says it’s all right, but that doesn’t seem to help. Then it is time for a different approach.

The treatment of psychosomatic symptoms

The treatment of psychosomatic symptoms consists of learning to interpret and understand your physical pains and discomforts. When there is more understanding and calm in your system, the complaints usually get less intense and can sometimes even disappear completely. Every system is unique, but we can distinguish a few general steps in the treatment:


Explanation how mind and body work together.


Examine which parts of you play a role in the symptoms and what they’re trying to do for you.


Finding a way to help your system collaborate so that the symptoms don’t have to be as intense any more.


Practical tips to deal with the pain in everyday life.

Finally getting a grip on the symptoms

We can discover what your body has been trying to tell you, what the pain means and help you find a way to collaborate differently. Maybe your system doesn’t have to suffer so much anymore.


At Psychologist Groningen you can plan regular sessions or plan a package of three sessions with which you can work on a specific question. For example: “How can I develop a different relationship to my body?”


And if you already want to get to work on your own, take a look at the following resources.

Do you want to get started on your recovery?

Take a look at the following resources:

Where does it come from?

A short film about how psychosomatic complaints can originate, be sure to turn on the English subtitles (5:05 min).

Psychosomatic Physiotherapy

Specialized physiotherapy can help with the symptoms, discover if there’s a suitable physiotherapist in your neighborhood.


With this free app you can get access to an enormous database of exercises designed to help with sleep, anxiety and stress to help reduce the psychosomatic symptoms.

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