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Wilson, G.W. (1934). Report of a Case of Acute Laryngitis Occurring as a Conversion Symptom During Analysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 21(4):408-414.

(1934). Psychoanalytic Review, 21(4):408-414

Report of a Case of Acute Laryngitis Occurring as a Conversion Symptom During Analysis

George W. Wilson

I was prompted to report this case after reading an article by Karl A. Menninger in which he discusses certain conversion symptoms referred to the respiratory tract occurring during an analysis. In his report Menninger demonstrates how much may be learned regarding the psychogenic background of his case which simulated in all respects that of a common cold. The case I want to report is one of an acute laryngitis which appeared a few hours after an analytic session and almost completely disappeared during the following one. A medical examination revealed a simple congestion of the vocal cords. The patient had had several similar attacks before coming to analysis.

The patient is a thirty-five year old single man who came to analysis with the predominating symptom of constipation. He is a fairly successful salesman who had been considerably more successful up until about five years ago at which time his overt aggressiveness in relation to other members of his firm caused him to be discharged, but after a few months reemployed at considerable reduction in salary. He is the third of four children having two older brothers and one younger sister. His father died when he was twelve. He has been the main support of his mother and has continued to live with her since his father's death.

At the time of this occurrence he was in the third month of analysis and was in a period of severe resistance against becoming conscious of his hostilities, particularly toward his father and two older brothers. During the analytic session, just preceding the onset of the laryngitis, the patient began the hour by telling me that he had no desire for breakfast and had not eaten because his mother was not at home to prepare the meal for him. Also he found it impossible to eat lunch.

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