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Dunn, P. (2000). Case Presentation: The Case of Ms. X. J. Clin. Psychoanal., 9(4):482-490.

(2000). Journal of Clinical Psychoanalysis, 9(4):482-490

Case Presentation: The Case of Ms. X

Dr. Peter Dunn, M.D.

Ms. X, a 30-year-old actress and acting teacher, was referred to me for analysis because of stage fright. Ms. X enjoyed a promising career through her twenties, but for the lour months before she sought treatment she was unable to perform because of fear of forgetting her lines. Her analysis lasted for six years and terminated when she married and moved to another city. I will present a summary of the history she gave me in the first month of weekly face-to-face consultations and then two detailed vignettes from the analysis that followed. The first vignette describes a complex transference-countertransference enactment revolving around the patient's anxiety about first using the couch. The second vignette, from the third year of the treatment, clarifies some of the genetic roots of the earlier enactment.

Ms. X was an attractive young woman with the engaging, trained speaking voice of an actor. She was not histrionic in her dress or manner. Rather, she appeared serious and disciplined. She approached the prospect of beginning the analysis with the kind of rigor with which she told me that she approached her work in her master classes. She began by stressing that her career was her main concern. She was a graduate of a famous acting conservatory and had worked in regional theater since completing her schoolwork. She was regarded as having considerable promise and attracted the interest of Y, a well-known theater director. She was accepted as a member of his repertory company and received a favorable review in a prominent publication. Such a review typically gave a head start to an acting career. She had “buzz.” She and Y became romantically

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