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Schimmenti, J.M. (1941). A Case of Hypertension Improved by Psychotherapy. Psychoanal. Rev., 28(2):188-200.

(1941). Psychoanalytic Review, 28(2):188-200

A Case of Hypertension Improved by Psychotherapy

John M. Schimmenti, M.D.

Besides the constitutional predisposition to hypertension, there is evidence of an acquired predisposition built up around emotional experiences in childhood. Furthermore there is evidence for the belief that there is an early emotional factor in every case of hypertension and that this emotional factor is the dynamic one on which the future course of the hypertension largely depends. I should like to present the following as a case in point to illustrate the emotional factors dynamic in a case of early hypertension.

C. M., aged thirty-two, a business man of Jewish parentage, came to this country at the age of eight years. His father had resided in the United States for several years before he was in a position to send for the family which consisted of the patient's mother, a brother four years his senior, a sister two years his senior and a sister two years his junior. In his absence the family were in financial straits, the father sending money sparingly and they had two episodes of terror when the home was brusquely searched by the Russian police authorities.

The patient could recollect one sexual episode when he saw his older sister being fondled by the older brother who had urinated on the floor and another when he tried to manipulate the younger sister's genitals. The patient was a bedwetter until the age of five years. The mother was in the habit of giving him suppositories for constipation and he recalled erotic pleasure in having these inserted.

On arriving in this country he had anticipated an effectionate, warm reception from the father and was disappointed by the rather cold, aloof attitude of the father who was preoccupied by other matters at the time. In this country he remembers an incident when the father rudely deprived him of a toy gun he had bought with pennies he had saved; and another incident, when he worked hard to clean things up in the cellar and was bawled out by his mother for getting his shirt dirty; and a third instance when his father dismissed him from the table after the patient grimaced at a young friend before whom his father had previously reprimanded him.

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