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Corbin, E.I. (1962). Muscle Action as Nonverbal and Preverbal Communication. Psychoanal Q., 31:351-363.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:351-363

Muscle Action as Nonverbal and Preverbal Communication

Edwin I. Corbin, M.D.


This paper demonstrates by a case report the nonverbal communicative power of muscle action. Action became a regressive substitute for verbalization between the patient and her child and her analyst. As a nonverbal communication, action can convey sadomasochistic and aggressive impulses which are difficult to decipher in an analysis. Muscle action appearing as a substitute for words is a regression and displacement from oral regression and anal sadism, and serves as a defense against the manifestation of these impulses. Fusions of sadism and aggression

can be communicated to an infant by action of his mother before language can serve this purpose.

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