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Vegetotherapy is a form of psychotheraphy that involves the physical manifestations of emotions. The basic and founding text of vegetotherapy is Wilhelm Reich's Psychischer Kontakt und vegetative Stroemung (1935), later included in the enlarged edition of Reich's Character Analysis (1933, 1949).
The practice of vegetotherapy involves the analyst asking the patient to physically simulate the bodily effects of strong emotions. This simulation causes the patient to experience the emotions simulated, thus releasing emotions pent up inside both the body and the psyche. The catharsis of emotive expression breaks down the cathexis of stored emotions. While experiencing a simulated emotional state, the patient may reflect on past experiences which should have caused that emotion, but where the emotion has not been fully resolved. These emotions are described as stored emotions, and in Reichian analysis are seen as manifesting in the body. Vegetotherapy relies of a theory of stored emotions, or affects, where emotions build tensions in the structure of the body. This tension can be seen in posture, facial expression or muscular stress.
Examples of vegetotherapy and interviews with analysts and patients who have undergone vegetotherapy, can be seen in the film Room for Happiness, directed by Dick Young and approved by the American College of Orgonomy.
Reich, Wilhelm: Psychic Contact and Vegetative Current. (Chap. xiv of Character Analysis, 1949 ff) Orig. in Reich's Zeitschrift fuer Politische Psychologie und Sexualoekonomie
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