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Mason, A.A. (1994). A Psychoanalyst Looks at a Hypnotist: A Study of Folie À Deux. Psychoanal Q., 63:641-679.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 63:641-679

A Psychoanalyst Looks at a Hypnotist: A Study of Folie À Deux

A. A. Mason


This paper traces my personal development from anesthetist to hypnotist, psychotherapist, and, finally, psychoanalyst. The change was precipitated by the successful treatment of a patient with congenital organic skin disease by hypnotism. Alongside my change of profession, I attempt to illustrate my change of ideas and the change of my relationship to patients which accompanies these other changes. I feel that my personal experience throws some light on the nature of suggestion and hypnotism and how they differ from each other and from psychoanalysis. I believe that observations support the idea that hypnotism is a folie à deux caused by mutual projective identification between two people and that in a less dramatic form this condition commonly occurs in normal development as well as in pathological psychological states. Several cases illustrate these ideas.

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