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Dane, P.G. (1927). Notes on Psycho-Analysis of War Neuroses. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 8:72-73.

(1927). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 8:72-73

Notes on Psycho-Analysis of War Neuroses

Paul G. Dane

An adequate psycho-analysis of neurosis in soldiers is possible only in a very limited number of cases for the following reasons: (1) The native intelligence of the majority of cases is below the standard regarded as normal in intelligence testing. (2) The pension factor—the pain from illness constitutes an impassable resistance to complete cure.

In 90 per cent. of cases with amnesia resulting from 'shock', a full recovery of this amnesia results in disclosing that in the moment preceding the mental dissociation the content of consciousness consisted of thoughts of the mother. It is also to be noted that several patients have testified to having heard in the groans of the dying references and appeals to the mother. Another striking feature to be noticed in the recovery of war amnesias is the extreme shame and disgust that accompanies the almost invariable confession that at the moment of shock the sphincters become relaxed with copious evacuation of the contents of the bladder and bowel—this was in some cases accentuated by the repressed memory of having heard stretcher bearers or other members of the medical units exclaim, 'Another bl—sh—case'.

Some of the cases show a pronounced Oedipus complex, and in one case the memory of the actual breast-sucking stage was revived through an association of the rocking movement of a train in which the semi-conscious soldier was being conveyed to the base. During analysis, after great resistance, this patient recalled that he resented and resisted being removed from the ambulance train, as he had experienced so much pleasure from the swaying movement of the carriage, and by this association he revived the memory of his mother rocking him in her arms whilst on the breast.

The Oedipus complex is disclosed in others in different ways, such as continued misunderstandings with and hatred of the father, constant misunderstandings with a wife, etc.

The homosexual component is also strongly marked in large numbers and is disclosed by the very common dreams of assault—many of them having the dressing of war—such as being chased by Germans—combats with Turks, etc.: the homosexual factor is further seen in the case of brothers at the war where the morbid fear of the brother's safety has been prominent before the final collapse.


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