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Rudden, M. (2000). The Case of Ms. A. J. Clin. Psychoanal., 9(3):371-389.

(2000). Journal of Clinical Psychoanalysis, 9(3):371-389

The Case of Ms. A

Marie Rudden, M.D.

(Affiliated Staff Conference—Treatment Center New York Psychoanalytic Institute 1/13/97)

Ms. A, a 40-year-old opera singer, requested a consultation almost 4 years ago because of a disturbing fear of auditions which she was experiencing since her marriage six months earlier. She noted a diminished interest in her career and an increasing sense of dependence on her husband which troubled her deeply. Ms. A felt that she was “acting like a little girl” around her husband and losing sexual desire for him. She discussed wanting, really for the first time, to have a child, but was worried that she “might not be adult enough” to care for one.

An attractive, stylishly dressed woman with a friendly yet composed demeanor, Ms. A felt that she had “lacked the ambition to push to the top” the way some of her peers had, who were originally viewed as having similar talent. Ms. A noted a chronic difficulty with auditioning for more visible concerts, feeling anxious about having to “walk into an audition room and take over.” Since her marriage, these “background anxieties” had intensified to the point where the patient did not feel able to seek out auditions all.

Of note is that the patient's career had already changed course somewhat before the marriage, when she was disabled for almost nine months for a vocal cord injury. This was incurred during a grueling series of performances, and Ms. A admitted to compounding the damage by not dropping out of the role when advised to do so by physicians, and by not cooperating fully with the recommended slow rehabilitation. During the time of her disability her finances had dwindled. It was toward the end of this period that she had met her future husband, B.

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