Basic knowledge in psychodermatology

F. Poot, F. Sampogna, L. Onnis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The authors try to define the framework of this approach, what should be acquired by "well-informed" dermatologists and what is required to be a pyschodermatologist. Objective: To better define the necessary knowledge to practice psychodermatology. Results: 1) The first level is dermatology psychology: there is a psychotherapeutical implicit effect of the dermatological consultation with a goal that is not psychological change. This effect can be improved by acquiring better communication skills and information. The second level needs a possibility to change the emotional individual process and the relational context in a continuum between counselling and psychotherapy. To practice this level a complete psychotherapeutic education with some specificity is needed. This can be reached by a dermatologist also being a psychotherapist or by a team consisting of both dermatologist-psychotherapist. 2) The psychodermatological patient is characterized by alexithymia. He/she needs to be understood through the body language he/she presents. This kind of patient is coming from families where the theme of loss seems to dominate the histories and be associated with deep emotional experiences of separation anxiety. These characteristics must be known together with the different psychodermatological disorders and the mind-body interaction to handle these patients. 3) Taking all of this complexity into account, the psychodermatologist or the psychodermatological team should be able to integrate the different points and adapt attitudes to the patient's difficulty during the whole therapeutic process. 4) The evaluation of the problem should be done using psychological tools here described. Conclusion: The European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) together with the European Society for Dermatology and Psychiatry (ESDaP) are able to provide the specific education for dermatologist and psychotherapist. In the future, they could be responsible for the recognition of these special abilities and treatments on a governmental and European political level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-234
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


  • Mind-body relations
  • Psychocutaneous diseases
  • Psychodermatology
  • Psychosomatic medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases


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