Psychologist and teacher, Humair Hashmi writes about Sandor Ferenczi
, Sigmund Freud’s Hungarian disciple, analysand, colleague, and friend. Hashmi describes Ferenczi's theory of "organ eroticism":
"In some of his writings Ferenczi described the functions of bodily organs as "organ eroticism", by which he meant that each part of the human body has a private life, as it were, and that the organ takes pleasure in its own activity. Thus Ferenczi wrote that the heart beats in pleasure; it is not merely a pump, as modern medical science would have us believe. The stomach protests at all the toxic chemicals that we put into it; the nose and the neck register their protests at their encounter with pollen and polyester and fibre; the neck stiffens and the nose sniffles; the feet ache of boredom for lack of contact with fresh air and walking in interesting places, and the brain becomes depressed to be treated merely as a computer."
Hashmi suggests Thomas Moore
follows in Ferenczi's footsteps:
"One way that some modern psychotherapists, for example Thomas Moore, look at the symptoms of somatoform disorders, particularly hypochondria, is by invoking the Ferenczian concept of organ eroticism and looking at physical symptoms as the otherness of or the protest of organs — the work of emotions, thoughts, personal histories, relationships, longings, fears, desires and nightmares of people.
Some modern psychotherapists, following the Ferenczian logic, do not reduce body-symptoms to microscopic analyses done with modern machines such as x-rays, MRIs, and ultra sounds but enlarge and magnify the symptoms and diagnose the ‘real’, the ‘psychological’ demon behind them, this being the protest of the organ.
Physical symptoms for such doctors are demands by organs to revert to a pleasurable state of existence and functioning, a push towards eroticism, and it is only when the patient with the help of the therapist can recognise what the body needs and is prepared to cater to it that the physical symptoms that appear in various forms of somatoform disorders, particularly hypochondria, may be understood, and addressed. Ferenczi, and more recently Moore, quote a number of case histories to make their point."