Several issues enhance the differences that have gradually developed between Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (CLP) and Psychosomatic Medicine (PM). PM has a strong and solid tradition in the research field, as is well demonstrated by numbers of highly significant works in international literature; it also does well in the area of education and teaching, either under- or postgraduate. But it is in the field of clinical activities and organisation of services that a blank is left: neither the “psychosomatist” nor the specialisation do exist in most countries. CLP instead has only recently walked its first steps in the field of research, with some specific projects such as those brought about by the European Consultation-Liaison Workgroup (ECLW), though a further statement of identity is needed; it is also gaining growing importance with teaching and training activities, addressed not only to students but also to a variety of professional figures, with varying strategies: the liaison is in itself a very powerful and direct, everyday educational tool, even in its less structured form. It is then in the field of clinical activities and organisation that CLP has historically developed most, and “psychosomatic problems” represent only a small proportion of the CL psychiatrist's competencies. Some brief considerations are collected in this paper over the complex relationship between CLP and PM, which is far from being clear and definitive. © 2002, Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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