Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

Using a biopsychosocial formulation to facilitate a person centered approach to Medically Unexplained Symptoms

Katherine McKay, Abraham Rudnick


There is sparse literature on the use of the biopsychosocial model to address medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). Using this model can assist in developing a better understanding of individuals presenting with MUS, allowing for a personalized and meaningful approach to develop person-centered solutions. We use a selective literature review and an example to illustrate this.


Biopsychosocial model, MUS research, medically unexplained symptoms, mental health, person-centered healthcare, person-centered solutions

Full Text:



Isaac, M.L. & Paauw, D.S. (2014). Medically unexplained symptoms. Medical Clinics of North America 98 (3) 663-672.

olde Hartman, T.C., Borghuis, M.S., Lucassen P.L.B.J., van de Laar F.A., Speckens, A.E. & van Weel, C. (2009). Medically unexplained symptoms, somatization disorder and hypochondriasis: course and prognosis. A systematic review. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 66 (5) 363-377.

Kirmayer, L.J., Groleau, D., Looper, K.J. & Dao, M.D. (2004). Explaining Medically unexplained symptoms. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 49 (10) 663-671.

Mellsop, G.W. & Banzato, C.E.M. (2006). A concise conceptualization of formulation. Academic Psychiatry 30 (5) 424-425.

Engel, G.L. (1979). The biopsychosocial model and the education of health professionals. General Hospital Psychiatry 1 (2) 156-165.

Campbell, W.H. & Rohrbaugh, R.M. (2006). The Biopsychosocial Formulation Manual: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals. New York: Routledge.

Fava, G.A. & Sonino, N. (2008). The biopsychosocial model thirty years later. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 77 (1) 1-2.

Butler, C.C., Evans, M., Greaves, D. & Simpson, S. (2004). Medically unexplained symptoms: the biopsychosocial model found wanting. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 97 (5) 219-222.

Rudnick, A. & Roe, E. (eds). (2011). Serious Mental Illness: Person-Centered Approaches. London: Radcliffe.

Ekman, I., Swedberg, K., Taft, C., Lindseth, A., Norberg, A., Brink, E., Carlsson, J., Dahlin-Ivanoff, S. Johansson, I-L., Kjellgren, K., Lidén, E., Öhlén, J., Olsson, L.E., Rosén, H., Rydmark, M. & Sunnerhagen, K.S. (2011). Person-centered care-ready for prime time. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing 10 (4) 248-251.



  • There are currently no refbacks.