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Schilder, P. (1938). The Social Neurosis. Psychoanal. Rev., 25(1):1-19.

(1938). Psychoanalytic Review, 25(1):1-19

Original Articles

The Social Neurosis

Paul Schilder, M.D.

I speak of “Social Neurosis” when the clinical picture of a neurosis is dominated by suffering in social contacts. Patients of this type can be comparatively happy when they are alone or together with their families. They feel severely incapacitated when they meet other persons. They feel particularly badly when confronted with groups, they are unable to enjoy themselves in such situations and to display their faculties. The central symptom of this group of cases is therefore shyness. The shyness is experienced as such and may not become obvious. However, the person cannot talk freely and functions mostly below the intellectual and emotional level of the personality. In many cases the shyness leads to a more or less complete blocking. The patient may not be able to formulate any thought clearly and may remain silent against his will. The patient may also prefer to remain silent instead of saying banal and unimportant things. In severe cases the social conduct becomes severely impaired. In some cases this impairment manifests itself in the discharge of professional duties as well as in the discharge of social duties. In other cases the difficulty remains restricted to the one or the other sphere. The disturbance becomes more outspoken when the situation is more exacting or more important.

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