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Gostynski, E. (1951). A Clinical Contribution to the Analysis of Gestures. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 32:310-318.

(1951). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 32:310-318

A Clinical Contribution to the Analysis of Gestures

E. Gostynski

Although a great deal of analytical literature exists on the gross psychological abnormalities of general motor behaviour, clinical observations on expressive movements have remained rare. In his early writings Freud paid attention to the patient's symptomatic actions and to their clinical significance in the analytical session. Theories of normal development of motor behaviour, both expressive and purposive, were put forward in papers by Landauer, Ferenczi and Fenichel. Stages of gradual transition were described. Starting with the uncoordinated infantile movements, which are aimed primarily at discharge of tension, the development ends in the adult's integrated general motor behaviour under the control of the reality principle. These authors stressed the important role of over-determination in normal and abnormal development, and the need for special investigations of this factor. In a recent paper, Ernst Kris emphasized anew the comparative lack of clinical data on the slighter psychological disturbances of expressive and general movement. Felix Deutsch, analysing postural behaviour, recorded in posturograms all the bodily movements of seventeen patients during successive analytical sessions. He correlated the movements with the concomitant verbalized material. Patients showed at the start of analysis a basic posture, which altered during analysis. The new movements resembled primitive infantile actions and attitudes and were perhaps characteristic of the periods corresponding to the released primitive instinctual drives.

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