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Josselyn, I.M. (1943). Psychoanalysis of a Case of Deafness: N. Foxe. Psychiatric Quarterly, XV, 1941, pp. 438–449.. Psychoanal Q., 12:302-303.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalysis of a Case of Deafness: N. Foxe. Psychiatric Quarterly, XV, 1941, pp. 438–449.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:302-303

Psychoanalysis of a Case of Deafness: N. Foxe. Psychiatric Quarterly, XV, 1941, pp. 438–449.

Irene M. Josselyn

Dr. Foxe presents an interesting case of deafness since childhood, which apparently improved to normal hearing under psychoanalytic therapy. In the course of the analysis Dr. Foxe found that, while the patient realized the obvious handicaps in being deaf, he was also aware of many advantages. He could not hear his father scold, he could defy authority, he could expose others to ridicule, and he could demand attention. The writer found considerable evidence that there was a pattern of malingering superimposed on an actual deafness. The patient also realized that he heard better under desirable, pleasant circumstances and more poorly under unpleasant ones. In addition, the painful treatments necessitated by the ear condition served as punishment for the patient's transgressions. As his hearing improved during the course of analysis he developed other physical symptoms, chiefly around the mouth.

Dr. Foxe raises the question of the possibility of nerve regeneration occurring under favorable circumstances. He does not give the material that led him to judge this deafness to be due to nerve pathology. The one incident he cites of sudden improvement in hearing during an analytical hour suggests a tubal rather than nerve envolvement. The question seems justified as to whether the case was not at least a partially psychogenic deafness, a symptom chosen

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because of the physical basis of chronic otitis media and mastoiditis. If this conclusion is unjustified it is unfortunate that Dr. Foxe did not report more of the objective physical findings in regard to the ear itself.

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Article Citation

Josselyn, I.M. (1943). Psychoanalysis of a Case of Deafness. Psychoanal. Q., 12:302-303

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