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Brody, S. (1973). The Son of a Refugee. Psychoanal. St. Child, 28:169-191.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 28:169-191

The Son of a Refugee

Sylvia Brody, Ph.D.

THIS CASE PRESENTATION IS INTENDED TO SHOW SOME CONNECTIONS between a specific historical event, a father's escape from Nazi Germany, and one aspect of his son's neurotic conflict during adolescence.

The analysis began when the boy was 9, because of his extreme irritability, negativism, restlessness, and psychogenic stomach pains. At school he was a loner, evasive, unhappy, and depressed. Despite his superior intellectual abilities and high aspirations, his academic achievements were erratic. As treatment proceeded, phobic and counterphobic behavior appeared. After about five years all of the symptoms except some irritability and a free-floating anxiety had subsided, and gradually both were found to be related to the boy's unconscious fantasies about the father's escape. Insight into those fantasies, which did not emerge clearly until the last year of treatment, finally dispelled his irritability and diminished his anxiety, checked certain faults in his superego which had been attracting him to delinquent acts, and contributed to a resolution of his oedipal conflict.


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