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(1949). Psychosomatic Medicine. X, 1948: Diarrhea: A Specific Somatic Equivalent of an Unconscious Emotional Conflict. Melitta Sperling. Pp. 331–334.. Psychoanal Q., 18:534.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychosomatic Medicine. X, 1948: Diarrhea: A Specific Somatic Equivalent of an Unconscious Emotional Conflict. Melitta Sperling. Pp. 331–334.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:534

Psychosomatic Medicine. X, 1948: Diarrhea: A Specific Somatic Equivalent of an Unconscious Emotional Conflict. Melitta Sperling. Pp. 331–334.

Melitta Sperling relates episodes from the analyses of six patients in an attempt to elucidate a psychodynamic mechanism for the symptom diarrhea. In these selected instances there was a specific unconscious emotional conflict which the diarrhea attempted to solve psychosomatically. The patients were dependent on a mother or mother substitute (the analyst) from whom they could not free themselves emotionally. The conflict, which could not at the time be resolved in reality, was dealt with by devaluating the needed object to feces, destroying it, and forcefully expelling it, thus achieving a separation. The value of interpreting the symptom lay not only in the immediate effect of causing the diarrhea to disappear but also in helping to make conscious the patients' most deeply hidden conflict.

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Article Citation

(1949). Psychosomatic Medicine. X, 1948. Psychoanal. Q., 18:534

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