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Saul, L.J. (1950). Physiological Systems and Emotional Development. Psychoanal Q., 19:158-163.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:158-163

Physiological Systems and Emotional Development

Leon J. Saul, M.D.


There are biological attachments and relationships to the mother other than the oral which are important psychologically and for psychosomatic symptoms. Examples are the fetal relation to the mother via respiration, and the later relation through the cry for the mother; the relation through the skin, first intrauterine and then by cuddling, fondling, and bathing; and the locomotor relationship through being carried by the mother. The role of these relationships in the formation of symptoms in the respective physiological systems is analogous to the role of the oral suckling relation to the mother in gastrointestinal disorders. These organ systems are pathways for the satisfaction of needs and for expressing inhibitions, frustrations, and fight-flight reactions of aggression, and for regression in connection with them. Emotional conflicts may be expressed over these preoral paths just as over the oral.

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