The Dutch multidisciplinary practice guideline ‘Medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS) and somatoform disorders’ provides information on non-specific somatoform complaints, hypochondriasis, conversion disorders and a limited number of specific functional syndromes. Much attention is given in the guideline to the role of doctor-patient communication and empathy in the treatment of patients with somatoform complaints. Two points may be criticised. Firstly, an undesirable side-effect of the Dutch nomenclature of unexplained symptoms is that it implies a duality of body and mind. Secondly, the value of screening for depression or an anxiety disorder as a secondary step in primary care is doubtful.
Conflict of interest: none declared. Financial support: none declared.