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Geleerd, E.R. (1943). The Analysis of a Case of Compulsive Masturbation in a Child. Psychoanal Q., 12:520-540.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:520-540

The Analysis of a Case of Compulsive Masturbation in a Child

Elisabeth R. Geleerd

A survey of available psychoanalytic literature has failed to reveal any detailed account of the analysis of cases of compulsive masturbation in children, and this fact seems to warrant the report of the analysis of a case of this kind at some length.

The child, Erika, a little girl seven years old, was brought for treatment by her mother, because she masturbated constantly and overtly. This symptom had existed since the child was a baby just beginning to sit up. The parents had beaten her and used other punishments in their attempts to cure her, and had also taken her to many doctors and clinics, but nothing had helped. The mother thought that circumcision of the clitoris might bring the desired result.

Besides the compulsive masturbation there were other symptoms. Erika made scenes whenever she could not have her own way, and often these developed into temper tantrums. She also bit her finger nails and made faces. At school she had no friends and never played with other children. When she had to join a group in play she disturbed the other children because she would not follow any rules. She tolerated one little girl who came to her house now and then, but only because this child did everything Erika commanded. In class Erika apparently paid no attention to the work of the day but merely sat and masturbated, especially during arithmetic. The teacher thought she was backward, but a Revised Stanford-Binet test carried out after some analysis showed an I.Q. of 104.

Erika was the only child of a forty-six-year-old mother and a thirty-seven-year-old father, who was a postman. She was born after seven years of marriage and was a wanted child.

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