CEREA FLEXIBILITAS (Waxy Flexibility)

A common symptom of catatonic schizophrenia in which the limbs of the patient remain in any position in which they are placed, like the limbs of a jointed doll. It is a form of cataleptic immobility.The catatonic patient can maintain an ordinarily uncomfortable position far longer than a normal individual. Some authorities believe that the symptom is due to a pathological suggestibility that stems, paradoxically, from the patient’s desire to withdraw from a threatening world. Evidence for this theory lies in the fact that the catatonic becomes passive and immobile, and when the position of his arm or leg is changed by others, he apparently finds it less disturbing to comply with the suggestion and endure the discomfort than to question it or fight it. It is interesting that the same reaction can be induced in normal persons through hypnosis, in which a similar condition of withdrawal into a restricted environment (“Listen only to my voice!”) is present. See CATALEPSY, SCHIZOPHRENIA (CATATONIC TYPE), AUTOMATISM.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "CEREA FLEXIBILITAS (Waxy Flexibility)," in PsychologyDictionary.org, November 28, 2018, https://psychologydictionary.org/cerea-flexibilitas-waxy-flexibility/ (accessed May 16, 2021).
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