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About us - Venice-Declaration

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International Society of Biopsychosocial Medicine - IS-BPS-Med

The International Society of Biopsychosocial Medicine aims to disseminate the understanding of the biopsychosocial model in medicine. This movement has its origins in the work of George Engel and other authors which have been published since the mid-70s of the 20th century.

The Society fully acknowledges the accomplishments of biomedical theory, however, it strives to expand its scientific approach by also taking into account both the psychological and the socio-ecological dimensions of health and illness. With the help of the additional aspects included in the biopsychosocial model, the aim will be to extend biomedical theory to form an integrative, scientific medical theory for the 21st century.

The IS-BPS-Med is committed to building on the existing knowledge already gathered in the psychosomatic sciences. By using this knowledge as a foundation and by employing a General System Theory approach, the Society aims to contribute to the creation of a medical theory for the 21st century, which will prove valid in all areas of medicine.

As compared to George Engel’s original concept, the current treatment of the biopsychosocial model has been significantly extended: The model is now essentially a theory of the unity of body and mind and offers a fundamental expansion of theoretical medicine, in which health and illness are no longer conceived as dichotomous separated entities.

As a matter of fact, General System Theory provides a model that suggests the concept of a parallel interface between different dimensions of reality. The idea of a strict differentiation between "ill" and "healthy" is no longer viable.  Within each different dimension of a general system - biological, emotional or eco-social - an individual may be functional to a greater or lesser extent. Also, the distinction between organic and psychological disorders does not appear justifiable anymore within the spectrum of disorders. Therefore, the differentiation between psychosomatic and non-psychosomatic illnesses and even the concept of psychosomatic illness itself have become obsolete.

In terms of the ramifications for medical practice, this means that both the diagnosis and treatment of all three relevant dimensions - physical, emotional and eco-social conditions of life - should be dealt with concurrently, in a parallel manner. All three dimensions belong to one and the same reality, albeit operating with different methods and concepts.

Schematic representation of how diagnosis and therapy can be carried out concurrently on several dimensions:

in his/her

needs to be described in their psychological dimension,
biological dimension and eco-social dimension
biopsychosocial diagnostics
("simultaneous diagnostics", "holistic or multiple-level diagnostics")
biological data data on the patient’s experience and behaviour (cognition, emotion, behaviour) eco-social data (physico-chemical and social environment), functional aspects multidimensional & multimodal acquisition of data, levels and sources of data
integrating data collected in multiple-levels diagnostics
integrating data using disorder-specific models describing links between various levels of the system (scientifically proven or assumed interfaces between relevant systems)

multimodal therapy
applying and coordinating interventions on various levels guided by biopsychosocial diagnostics, treatment concept with multidimensional options for intervention
biopsychosocial therapy
("simultaneous therapy", "holistic or multiple-level therapy")
interventions at the biological level:
pharmacotherapy, surgery and technical interventions, physiotherapy
interventions at the psychological level:
cognitive-emotional and behaviour-oriented psychological interventions
interventions at the eco-social level:
family and professional network, socio-cultural resources
balanced interventions, serial or parallel method of delivery
effects on the psychological, biological and eco-social dimensions of the 
in his/her


All aspects of the role of the physician acting in accordance with the principles of mechanistic medicine remain unchanged. However, these data will now be complemented by the psychological and eco-social aspects of the patient and their condition. This information is collected and processed concurrently and in accordance with a "simultaneous" diagnostic process. 

In a very practical sense, interventions on the biological, psychological and eco-social dimensions ("simultaneous therapy" or "concurrent - respectively parallel - interventions") can be derived based on this new understanding of the concept of illness.

Thus, the field of medicine is expanded and psychological or eco-social aspects are no longer left out. It therefore becomes evident that place (dimension), type (form of intervention) and extent (quantity) of therapeutic interventions need to be considered and negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Taking these different dimensions into account may contribute to reducing the burden placed upon physicians, as the responsibility for accomplishing successful outcomes is now carried by all professionals involved in treatment as well as the patient and their eco-social life conditions.

IS-BPS-Med aims to represent
- an interdisciplinary, international scientific community committed to all areas of medicine
- a multi-professional organisation, i.e. an organisation aiming to cover all relevant areas in the field of healthcare
- a multidimensional structure,  because of its theoretical foundations based on the expanded biopsychosocial model of health and illness
- a community aiming to foster both practical and theoretical scientific activities and to promote its conferences to allow the mutual exchange of new findings which may then be integrated in the health sector.