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Schiffer, I. (1962). The Psycho-Analytic Study of the Development of a Conversion Symptom. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:169-174.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:169-174

The Psycho-Analytic Study of the Development of a Conversion Symptom

Irvine Schiffer


Conversion symptoms could be considered a form of non-verbal communication. Their analysis allows for an understanding in depth of a patient's body symbolization. We can in fact prognosticate verbal content from the observation of conversion symptoms. The question of forecasting conversion phenomena from antecedent dream material is also pertinent. The prelude to conversion symptoms is cathected body symbolization, and the actual symptom is felt with the union of unconscious excitation and preconscious wish, the subsequent binding of the former in the preconscious leading to encapsulation of instinct, and body symptom. Of importance to the process of conversion is the role and participation of primitive sensory percepts in the process of object formation. The unconscious aspects of body symbolization are vital to the understanding of conversion. They begin with the primary process in an attempt to restore the loss of an object to the body unity.

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