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Bonnard, A. (1963). Impediments of Speech: A Special Psychosomatic Instance. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 44:151-162.

(1963). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 44:151-162

Impediments of Speech: A Special Psychosomatic Instance

Augusta Bonnard

A glance through the psycho-analytic literature reveals that little of it is devoted to the common psychogenic disabilities known as 'impediments of speech'. Nevertheless, thanks to Glauber's (1958) researches into Freud's writings, we find that these have contributed far more to this topic than would otherwise have been realized. For example, not only did Freud define the cause, in the case of Frau Emmy, of her 'capercaillie-like noises' and her disintegrations of phonation, as being of the nature of a tic, but he further stated that stuttering represented 'the putting into operation of antithetic ideas'. My present findings, although confirmatory of both of these discoveries, will, however, be seen to differ in the mode of their approach as well as in their therapeutic implementation. In any event, Freud's conclusions were derived from his work with adult patients, whereas this communication relies on observations on children, in many of whom the condition was still recent and, therefore, not yet progressively 'fortified'.

Among Glauber's own contributions to the aetiology of stuttering, it is of interest that he places special emphasis on the role of the mother, as is confirmed by some of my case material. Coriat, another among the few analysts (see also Gerard, 1947, for instance) who have made this topic their special concern, mainly concluded that speech impediments represented both fixations and symbolizations of the infantile act of suckling. In view, however, of the operationally detailed descriptions which will here be given of some 'impediments', it is worth noting that these three analytic writers, as well as others, would seem satisfied to subsume these commoner psychogenic disturbances of speech under the general term 'stuttering'.

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