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Wulff, M.W. (1928). A Phobia in a Child of Eighteen Months. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 9:354-359.

(1928). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 9:354-359

A Phobia in a Child of Eighteen Months

M. W. Wulff

Freud's recently published work, Hemmung, Symptom und Angst, reminds us afresh of the great importance of anxiety in the psychology of neurosis, and brings the problem of anxiety into the forefront of our interest. That should justify the publication of the following slight contribution, which deals with the first symptoms of a phobia-formation in a little girl of eighteen months.

Little Lina is perfectly normally developed in mind and body, speaks fairly intelligibly, and even commands a vocabulary which at her age is rather larger than is usual.

The child shewed signs of anxiety for the first time when one day, between six and seven o'clock in the evening, she hid herself in the corner of a large sofa in her room, crying to her mother and saying to her in a low depressed voice: 'Mamma, don't give Linchen away; don't give Linchen away!' She repeated this many times in succession, clinging to her mother and clearly shewing all the while signs of uneasiness and anxiety. For a considerable time neither coaxing nor soothing was of any avail; then she finally fell asleep.

After that the attacks of anxiety recurred several days in succession, nearly always about the same time. Then they came not only in the evening but in the day-time, when the child frequently reiterated with signs of great anxiety: 'Don't give Linchen away' don't give Linchen away!' Her anxiety increased whenever anyone knocked at the door. She then wanted to be taken at once on her mother's or her nurse's lap, crying: 'Nobody there! nobody there!' At the same time she was afraid of the dark window in the evening, the church bells, or the noise of passing motors.

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