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Usher, R.D. (1944). A Case of Stammering. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 25:61-70.

(1944). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 25:61-70

A Case of Stammering

Ruth D. Usher

I have called this paper 'A Case of Stammering', not because speech defect was the only symptom, or even the most serious one from an analytic point of view, but because, as treatment proceeded, I became especially interested in this aspect.

Therefore it is mainly from this standpoint that I am going to describe the case, though, as I think will ultimately be agreed, there was a very serious disturbance of the whole personality. I am not even attempting to consider this one symptom comprehensively; that would be far too great a task. I am limiting the material mainly to an attempt to illustrate the nature of the unconscious phantasies and conflicts, the anxieties and fears linked with the stammering—that is, such of them as were revealed in the analysis, for I am quite sure that we by no means exhausted them. I have chosen this particular aspect because this particular child was one possessed of an especially rich and accessible phantasy life.

Whether the type of stammer is of significance or not I do not know. In my patient it consisted in a repetition of either syllables, single words or groups of words—never of consonants alone. Possibly this character depends on the severity of the symptoms, whole words being nearer to normal speech than consonants.

Jimmy was a boy of 6 years and 10 months of age when he first came to me. He was living with his parents and was attending the local elementary school. There was one other child, a little girl called Betty, some 2½ years younger than my patient.

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