Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 293–312 | Cite as

Social Uterus: A Developmental Concept in Family Therapy for Psychosomatic Disorders

  • Vladislav Chvála
  • Ludmila Trapková
  • David SkorunkaEmail author
Original Paper


The article introduces a concept of social uterus as an integrative model of family development. The concept has been gradually developed by two of the authors of the article through extensive clinical work with individuals and families during the last two decades. It has shown to have clinical validity, particularly in family therapy for psychosomatic disorders and various chronic somatic diseases. In the article, we first present a short description of our perspective on psychosomatic issues. We also give some information about the broader context of psychosomatic medicine and family therapy in our country. The main part of the article focuses on the concept of social uterus in detail. With regard to process of family therapy, both promising and controversial aspects of the concept are discussed. We conclude with some ideas concerning a need for collaborative health care in the treatment of psychosomatic disorders.


Social uterus Family Family therapy Psychosomatic disorders Separation process 



Although the article is a joint project and the pronoun we is mainly used in the text, a clarification regarding the authorship should be made. The original concept of Social Uterus described in the article has been developed by Vladislav Chvála and Ludmila Trapková. Once a trainee in the family therapy training run by a team of supervisors with those two senior colleagues taking the lead, David Skorunka applied the concept in his psychiatry and family therapy clinical practice. He has also been including the concept in his teaching about family therapy, narrative approach and psychosomatic medicine and thus received fruitful feedback from both the Czech and the international students in the undergraduate programs in both medicine and psychology.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vladislav Chvála
    • 1
  • Ludmila Trapková
    • 2
  • David Skorunka
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.The Centre for Complex Therapy of Psychosomatic Disorders, The Institute of Family Therapy and Psychosomatic MedicineLiberec 10Czech Republic
  2. 2.Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy Outpatient ClinicPrague 7Czech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Social Medicine, Faculty of MedicineCharles UniversityHradec KraloveCzech Republic

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