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The Book Forum
October 19, 1964

Anxiety and Tension Control: A Physiologic Approach

Author Affiliations

San Francisco

JAMA. 1964;190(3):255. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070160079034

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Perhaps the most reliable indicator of the still nascent state of psychiatry is the plethora of proposals for the treatment of mental illness: everything from psychoanalysis to homeopathy. Here we have another proposal: neuromuscular relaxation technique or, in the author's new terminology, "self-operations control." Jacobson sees the human organism through behavioristic glasses: "mental operations, including imagination, recall and all forms of emotion depend on specific operations of the skeletal (and other) musculature." In order to control nervous disorders one must learn to regulate one's neuromuscular operations in a manner analogous to the control by a driver of the operations of his auto. The "physiologic psychiatrist" teaches his patient how to do this. The author offers a number of cases in order to show the success of his method, including cure of a patient unsuccessfully treated by psychoanalysis. The volume contains numerous drawings showing how the relaxation techniques are properly performed.

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