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French, T.M. (1929). Psychogenic Material Related to the Function of the Semicircular Canals. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 10:398-410.

(1929). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 10:398-410

Psychogenic Material Related to the Function of the Semicircular Canals

Thomas M. French

The following material is from the analysis of a man of thirty, who had been under analytic treatment since early in December, 1927. The analysis had been begun during the course of a very mild depression without delusions, which had developed during the convalescence from an acute excitement. The excitement during most of its course had been of the manic type but had taken on a distinctly schizoid colouring at its height.

In connection with the particular material which I am about to present, it is of interest to note that in 1919 there had been a nasal infection, which had left a marked deafness of the left ear. I shall quote only those portions of his analytic material which have a bearing on my topic.

On April 13, immediately after defecation, he had a sensation as though he were swaying. This at first frightened him, then gave him a feeling as though he had seen something amusing. He was not dizzy. In association he thought of pictures of coils of intestine … seeing a monkey masturbate, snakes, a snake crawling into his rectum and shaking his whole body, sexual intercourse.

On May 7, three and a half weeks later, he reports a dream in two parts. The patient is in a yellow cottage by the lake. His mother comes to visit him. There are two beds, one higher than the other, on adjoining sides of the room, the heads of the beds facing each other. The patient wonders as to how privacy can be maintained when his mother undresses.

In association he recalls that in his early childhood his own bed and that of his parents were arranged exactly as in the dream except that the feet of the beds faced each other. At the age of twelve his mother took him to a crowded summer resort where they both slept in the same room. He was awakened in the night by two rats fighting on his face. As he awoke, one ran down one arm and another down the other. He insists upon the reality as well as the vividness of this experience.

I think we may well believe that the experience was a real one, but the reality belongs to the earlier date. The nightmare is a rather undisguised reproduction of the primal scene.

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