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Lewis, N.D. (1928). Coriat's Stammering. Psychoanal. Rev., 15(4):443-445.

(1928). Psychoanalytic Review, 15(4):443-445

Coriat's Stammering

N. D. C. Lewis

The author of this monograph has made several previous contributions in the past, concerning the genesis of speech defects; it is therefore with keen anticipation that one reads here the amplification of his theories with their reinforcements from the psychoanalytic literature. Dr. Coriat's investigations have convinced him that stammering is an “oral neurosis” which has previously been erroneously considered by numerous investigators to be a true speech defect or a habit disturbance. These latter theories and the treatment based accordingly he considers to be “about as worthless as were the speculations concerning infectious diseases before the discoveries of modern bacteriology.”

As long ago as 1915 the author made the following statement: “A completely satisfactory theory of stammering must explain the abnormal mental reactions, conscious or unconscious of the stammerer, as well as the various paradoxical disturbances of speech. The various modern theories of stammering such as transient auditory amnesia, spastic neurosis of speech, localized motor obsessional neurosis or as a form of hereditary tic, leave much to be desired.” He felt at that time that the psychogenic explanation was the only one which withstood the etiologic and therapeutic test and that all methods of treatment other than psychologic have only a temporary, if any, beneficial effect.

Stammering is considered to be a definite psychoneurosis with particular characteristics which depend upon early oral fixations of libido—” In the development of speech, oral cannibalistic, anal and sadistic fixations are more or less sublimated. It is only later in this development that speech becomes one of the highest forms of sublimation, when it expresses the most abstract and symbolic ideas in the process of thinking….

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