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Evans, M.G. (1952). Early Anxiety Situations in the Analysis of a Boy in the Latency Period. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 33:93-110.

(1952). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 33:93-110

Early Anxiety Situations in the Analysis of a Boy in the Latency Period

M. Gwen Evans


The main purpose of the paper is to demonstrate in the case of a boy-patient how certain early anxiety situations are uncovered and dealt with according to the analytic technique of Melanie Klein. The reason for which he came to analysis was the parents' concern about severe inhibitions at school in work and play. At the outset of analysis this attitude of non-co-operation was not shown in the transference situation but appeared as soon as the

patient's need to placate the analyst had diminished.

Depression and persecutory fears, open aggression and defiance, as well as passive negative attitudes of great strength began to emerge both at home and in the analysis. The patient was able later on to reveal conscious concern about such symptoms as mental confusion and hypochondriacal fears which he had been trying to hide.

The following examples were taken from his analysis which lasted for several years. The first three dealt with anxieties relating to phantasies of attacks made upon the inside of the mother's body.

Example 1. The mother's babies were symbolized as tortoises and as the dental plate in his mouth, which he experienced as a persecutory object. His companions at school were equated with the mother's unborn children.

Example 2. The connection between such anxieties and intellectual inhibition was shown and their effect upon his relation with his sister.

Example 3. Spiders and ants were captured in the treatment room to be placed in pens constructed during the session. The picture of a damaged animal in a magazine was used together with the spiders and ants to represent the objects as he imagined them to be inside the mother.

Example 4. Stealing tendencies were shown in connection with his envy of the female functions. He demonstrated the material by means of dancing bottles suspended from a gold chain stolen from his sister.

Example 5. Dealt with stealing in relation to the analyst, and led to the discovery of important links between conscious and unconscious thefts. Confusion arising from uncertainties about the separation of real and imaginary theft was also discussed.

Example 6. Describes the bringing to analysis of some of the stolen property. Fears of school-teachers, the dentist and the analyst were connected with the idea that we were searching for the things stolen in phantasy as well as for those objects which he had really pilfered. Stolen knowledge about the parents' sexual functions, and about the facts of birth were shown to contribute to his difficulties in learning.

Example 7. Described something of his rivalry with the sister for a dominant place in the father's affections, and was brought to analysis at the time of the father's birthday, when the children decided to give a joint present. Some of the material was given in the form of a summary which he made for me of a serial story he had read during several sessions. The story was of a Chief's daughter who lost her badge and was banished by her father for disobedience.

Example 8. Showed some of his fears about the aggressive nature of his penis and the association in his mind between his father's genital and his own. He set up a pendulum and explained to me how it worked, introducing a broken school ruler as part of the arrangement. Other symbols of the penis used in the session were a toy engine, a puppy and paint brushes.

Example 9. Illustrated the importance of the internal figure of the combined parents, which the patient showed as a strange and frightening figure disturbing his good relation with his body. One form of it was shown as a centaur in another serial story read during the sessions.

Example 10. Described his reactions to his own birthday and showed how a mood of depression could appear and be worked through after some severe persecutory anxieties had been partially analysed. The parents appeared as kings and queens on coins and stamps.

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