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Greenson, R.R. (1954). About the Sound 'Mm …'. Psychoanal Q., 23:234-239.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:234-239

About the Sound 'Mm …'

Ralph R. Greenson, M.D.

The clinical material of this brief presentation is a fragment from the analysis of a male patient who suffered from severe and unpredictable fluctuations of mood. During one of his brief and infrequent euphoric intervals, the patient stated that he felt a constant pleasant humming sensation in his lips. Although no audible sound came from him, he felt as though he were making the sound 'Mm…'. This particular mood accompanied by the humming sensation and sound lasted for several days and it was possible to uncover some of the determinants.

The humming sensation was a manifestation of a sense of contentment and well-being. The good mood had been precipitated by an event in the patient's life which had made him feel lucky or fortunate. (It was characteristic for this man to react either with feelings of guilt or a transient hypomania when he believed that circumstances or fate had smiled upon him.) The sense of well-being was recognized to be a repetition of those few occasions in his life when he believed himself to be his mother's favorite and that she really loved only him. The euphoria also represented a successful denial of quite the opposite feeling, of being abandoned and deserted, which was the deeper and more consistent mood of this particular patient (4).

A dream fragment at this time concerning a piece of velvet cloth led to associations about especially 'delicious' and rich tactile temperature and taste sensations localized predominantly in the hand and in the mouth. To this patient velvet was a sensuous material; it was very 'feely'.

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