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Deutsch, F. (1937). Einfluss Der Gemütsbewegung Auf Den Körper. Affektphsysiologie Und Organneurosen. (Influence of Emotion on the Body. The Physiology of Emotion and the Organic Neuroses.): By Dr. Erich Wittkower. Leipzig und Wien: Sensen Verlag, 1936. 187 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 6:543-544.

(1937). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 6:543-544

Einfluss Der Gemütsbewegung Auf Den Körper. Affektphsysiologie Und Organneurosen. (Influence of Emotion on the Body. The Physiology of Emotion and the Organic Neuroses.): By Dr. Erich Wittkower. Leipzig und Wien: Sensen Verlag, 1936. 187 pp.

Review by:
Felix Deutsch

After Dunbar's Emotion and Bodily Changes, a complete review of the last ten years' literature on the subject, any further work on this topic would seem superfluous. However, as the author points out in his introduction, the goal of the present volume goes further. It aims to organize clinically the proven factual material on psychosomatic relationships, in order to enrich future experiments on an exact clinical basis, thereby interesting physicians in psychophysical and psychotherapeutic problems. The author is well known for the great number of his own works on psychosomatic relationships which he has presented in past years in clinical and experimental papers and which have now been coördinated in this volume. On the basis of his special interest in the influence of emotion on the skin, more than one third of the context is devoted to the psychogalvanic phenomenon, while the remaining portion discusses the influence of emotion on the respiratory system, the spleen, the blood, the secretion of urine and the endocrine glands. With a record of more than 500 of his own cases, the author again finds that the course of organic functions can be changed essentially by psychical and, in particular, emotional effects, and that a knowledge of emotional reactions makes its possible to understand the field of organic functions in general and the so-called organic neuroses in particular.

The psychological findings from this case material make no new contributions to psychoanalysis. Essentially, traumatic experiences in the nature of strong mental excitement are stressed as precipitating factors for the genesis of symptoms of the organic neuroses. As a motive for the illness, the author accepts a heightened striving for compensation in conflict with an organic inferiority already present as well as inferiority feelings, just as readily as he accepts analytical points of view. But one has the impression that he means here not the psychical structure but the manifest sexual disposition of the neurotic. In any case, in the chapter on respiratory disturbances, for example, he writes: 'For orthodox psychoanalysis, asthma is a sexual neurosis.

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