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Feigenbaum, D. (1930). Analysis of a Case of Paranoia Persecutoria: Structure and Cure. Psychoanal. Rev., 17(2):159-182.

(1930). Psychoanalytic Review, 17(2):159-182

Analysis of a Case of Paranoia Persecutoria: Structure and Cure

Dorian Feigenbaum, M.D.

To justify a detailed psychoanalytic presentation of a case of paranoia, I may mention the fact that there is a dearth of psychoanalytic studies of paranoia in psychiatric literature. Outside of Freud's classical analysis of the “Schreber” case and of fragmentary analyses by Freud, Ferenczi, Meader, and a few others, a detailed analysis exists only by Bjerre. However, this case is questionable as to diagnosis and unquestionably contaminated by the technique of suggestive therapy. In some of the latest textbooks on psychiatry there is a noticeable demand for more complete studies on paranoia, and Freud who has always called for a critical attitude towards his theory of paranoia has stressed the need for further careful investigation to verify his fundamental thesis.

The material I am going to present has been collected and studied in this spirit. Of course, it will be necessary to condense my material very considerably and to disregard literature entirely.

It may be well to begin with a brief synopsis of the case because it will be discussed without much reference to chronology. Of course, custom was followed and certain non-essential facts were modified to prevent possible identification.

The patient, whom we shall call Rachel, is a Turkish Jewish woman who was brought by her family to America when she was ten years old. In this country she developed into an alert, capable girl, able to provide for herself and financially independent of her parents, although she continued to live with them. She worked in department stores, millinery shops, wholesale houses and beauty parlors. In her early twenties she met her future husband, a Gentile, member of a prominent aristocratic family, who first addressed her as a casual acquaintance in the store where she was employed. He fell in love with her and after a long courtship and after hesitation on her part for about five or six years, they were married. One year after marriage she gave birth to a boy.

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