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Sklar, J. (2008). Hysteria and Mourning—A Psychosomatic Case. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 36(1):89-102.

(2008). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 36(1):89-102

Hysteria and Mourning—A Psychosomatic Case

Jonathan Sklar, M.D.

Freud early in the history of analysis viewed hysteria in relation to trauma. This became a subject of great interest to Ferenczi particularly in his clinical activities in trying to find the balance between fantasy and trauma. The enactment in the body, as a psychosomatic symptom, is a way of unconsciously drawing attention to that which cannot be processed emotionally. A young man with a long-standing obsessional character had a sudden onset of motor disturbance. A recent set of family calamities triggered a psychosomatic defence against his having to be affectively in touch with a breakdown, which first occurred when he was 2 years old, and which he had never mourned. It was only after the development of a severe body tic following the family disruption that the possibility of finding lost affect and the capacity for an integration of the psychic and somatic became available through the analytic process.

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