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Martin, A.R. (1951). The Fear of Relaxation and Leisure. Am. J. Psychoanal., 11(1):42-50.

(1951). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 11(1):42-50

The Fear of Relaxation and Leisure

Alexander Reid Martin

The following definitions from Webster form a necessary preface to this presentation:

“Relax—to remit attention or effort, to become less diligent, to unbend, to seek recreation or rest.”

“Relaxation—a recreative state, diversion, recreation. Abatement, slackening, ease and rest.”

“Leisure” is closely connected with relaxation, but has a more extensive and more general application and implication. It is defined as follows: “Opportunity and freedom to do something. Time free from employment. Time at one's command. Free from engagement. A period of unengaged time and ease.”

Three sources of interest prompted this paper. First, it follows as a natural sequence the general trend of the ideas and formulations in my papers on “Effort,”“The Body's Participation in Anxiety and Dilemma Phenomena,” “Reassurance in Therapy,” and “The Dynamics of Insight.” Secondly, several years ago, the American Psychiatric Association formed a Committee on Recreation. Within the past few years, the name of this committee was changed to the Committee on Leisure Time

Activity. Working as chairman of this committee over the past two years, it has become increasingly obvious that this field of interest is one of tremendous scope, involving a most important and significant phase of modern life. An intelligent approach to this whole problem of leisure time in our culture necessitates at the outset an enunciation of a philosophy that will be in keeping with contemporaneous thinking, take into account the dynamic, holistic, fourth-dimensional philosophies of the twentieth century and utilize the knowledge of conscious and unconscious motivations that have been disclosed by psychoanalysis.

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