0. Preface

Dear Reader,

This book is an unusual book about an unusual topic for an unusual audience. As you will immediately find out when looking at the table of contents, it’s not common a textbook nor a scientific standard work. It’s a practical guide written and edited by pairs; pairs of scientists and clinicians, physicians and social scientists, gynaecologists and midwives, professionals from East & West, North & South, men and women. This dual approach is no coincidence nor editorial luxury. This multidimensional approach is bare functionality in order to grasp the complexity of the unusual topic involved: Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynaecology (POG) is an unusual, or better a unique topic. It’s uniqueness certainly also does lie in the ability so resolve problems which are seen as ‘crux medicorum’ in the bio-medical routine. But most of all it’s uniqueness lies in its ability to combine different ways to look at womens health(care). Of course POG makes use of the great scientific and  technological breakthroughs the natural sciences have brought, and are still bringing us today. It learns us to look and think in a sound scientific way to lay a rational and empirical fundament under our daily medical practice. At the same time POG shows us how to put these problems including the  underlying (pathological) mechanisms, in a broader psychosocial and political context. This enables us to give meaning to the experiences of our patients and to understand them. POG thereby not only makes us observe better, it also shows how and why we look the way we look.  This empathetic mirror image is the bridge that connects health care professionals with their patients and enable us to cure, care and prevent but also to help them to help themselves.  

Form follows function, so in order to use the best of both worlds, sharp scientific observations and empathy based signification, the structure of this book is also unusual. Where normally the focus is put on the different specialized sub-themes, here the normal routine of every days practice is followed. A woman enters our office with one or more health care related problems, questions or worries like PMS, PTSD, PVD etc. In the first part of the book twenty of these POG topics have been worked out in a standardized way; every theme is illustrated by a case description, so that theory and practice has been put together and every chapter ends with Tips and Tricks, in order to fill the toolkit of the reader.

Because knowledge and skills can only by combined to useful competency in the background of clear  roles, part 2 addresses a number clinical roles which are highly illustrative for POG such as e.g. the rol of communicator and collaborator. Based on the input of the authors on a certain problem, specific role profiles were developed, which reflect the appropriate forms of behaviour, guided by social and clinical norms. In the same way, on a meta level, the more general ‘POG competency profile’ could be distilled. Where part 1 and 2 are very practically oriented, part 3 combines in-depth information with practical suggestions. In a number of Capita Selecta, topics like the bio-psycho-social model, communicative strategies and the nature of traumatic experiences are discussed. This part is written with the purpose of adding an extra layer above the chapters in Part 1 and to combine the different strategies which have been described in the first 20 chapters.

Last but not least, this book was an unusual expedition for us as editors. Thanks to our authors and the assistance of Springer Media, we were able to make one of the most interesting journeys in our professional lives.

Marieke Paarlberg & Harry van de Wiel, editors