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The Psychology of Illness

In Sickness and In Health

Richard G. Druss, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-0-88048-661-3
  • Item #8661

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The Psychology of Illness: In Sickness and In Health serves as a guide for therapists working with chronically ill patients. It weaves together theory, clinical experience, case examples, and up-to-date research. The book's flexible approach involves several modalities, including psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, pharmacological, and family treatments. This book teaches that therapists can help patients cope not only with the illness, but also with the complex relationships they will have with their physicians and the medical establishment.

Dr. Druss's unique book is divided into two sections. The first section, Sickness, focuses on the subjective experience of being chronically ill. The second, Health, is concerned with health and the quality of life. This book includes such topics as healthy denial and programs for staying healthy, such as exercise.


  • Sickness.

    Illness as depicted in popular literature. Hypochondriasis in the medically ill. Pathological denial. Psychodynamic psychotherapy of patients with serious intercurrent medical illness. Treatment philosophy.


    Healthy denial. Courage facing chronic illness: with special reference to the life of Robert Louis Stevenson. Exercise, well-being, and restoration.

This wise book, based on years of experience, pared down to essentials, is extremely accessible. It is earthy, literary, and will be of assistance to anyone who works with sick people and who wants the reassurance of a seasoned clinician looking over their shoulder.—The Medical Post

This book offers a heartening perspective of those factors that constitute a life well lived, for the patients and for the doctor.—Bulletin of the Menniger Clinic

Richard Druss's book, a short, lucid, and informative text focused on the interplay between medicine and psychiatry, is indeed timely and should appeal to a wide audience of trainees and practitioners in all the medical, nursin, and social work fields. Mental health workers may better appreciate its fine points because of their specialized training, but all medical readers (and their patients) would benefit from the holistic perspective and practical clinical wisdom the author provides.—American Journal of Psychiatry

Dr. Druss' book has everything going for it. It is about real people and written by a real person. It is commendably short; he says what he needs to say in lucid and eloquent English and then comes to a stop. It is not expensive. Any psychiatrist, indeed any doctor, concerned with the care of sick people will benefit from owning it. Their patients will benefit too.—Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry

A distinguished and well-versed practitioner of the psychiatric treatment of chronic medically ill patients, Druss provides us with a unique review of notions that many times we take for granted. . . . Druss shows extraordinary flexibility, commendable broad-mindedness, and wise use of the old truths that perpetrate the unique calling of the healer: appeals to the patient's courage and endurance, empathetic participation in the patient's suffering, reinforcement of healthy denial.—Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

Druss is at his best when he presents clinical impressions drawn form his years of thoughtful reflection on the psychology of illness. He comes across as a wise, compassionate, thoughtful, and flexible man whom any patient would be lucky to have as a psychotherapist. Readers of his book will feel lucky to have him as a teacher.—The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

Conceived as a guide for psychiatrists treating medically ill patients, The Psychology of Illness abounds with wisdom. Author Richard Druss, clinical professor of psychiatry and former associate director of the Psychoanalytic Center for training and Research at Columbia, transcends the strictly scientific, stepping across the transom of objectivity into the heart and mind of his subject.—Columbia P & S Alumni Quarterly

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