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Flournoy, H. (1920). Dreams on the Symbolism of Water and Fire. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 1:245-255.

(1920). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1:245-255

Dreams on the Symbolism of Water and Fire

H. Flournoy

I give here a brief summary of the history of a patient who has been under my treatment:

Madame C. aged 45, married and mother of three children, was towards the end of February attacked suddenly with complete retention of urine. Some days before she had lost her purse containing a good deal of money, and her husband had reproached her on the subject. As the retention persisted for more than a week, and as the patient was only able to pass urine with the help of a catheter, she was admitted on March 11th to a gynæcological clinic. Catheterisation relieved her of three to four litres of urine. Catheterisation was subsequently carried out three or four times daily. On one occasion when the nurse suddenly entered the patient's room, she was startled and involuntarily passed urine; this effect however had no lasting result.

At the end of March her medical attendant asked me to give her psychotherapeutic treatment, as her functional condition resisted all other medical measures. On March 31st. I gave her suggestive treatment. On the following day the patient was very discouraged and doubted the efficiency of this treatment; she also told me of a dream on the previous night: "There was no more water in the Rhone, and she much regretted that her husband, who was very fond of fishing, had gone to bed and was unable to take advantage of taking the fish out of the dry river."

On April 2nd. in the afternoon, she involuntarily wet herself, but in the evening, shortly after the third sitting, she passed urine normally for the first time for five weeks. After this she continued to urinate in a regular and spontaneous manner. On the third of April I gave her a fourth and last sitting. Some days after Madame C. left the home. I have made certain after several months that she has not had a return of her symptoms.

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