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Fleming, J. Strong, S.M. (1943). Observations on the Use of Chess in the Therapy of an Adolescent Boy. Psychoanal. Rev., 30(4):399-416.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Review, 30(4):399-416

Observations on the Use of Chess in the Therapy of an Adolescent Boy

Joan Fleming, M.D. and Samuel M. Strong, Ph.D.

Introduction. The problem of this paper centers about the treatment of a case in which social isolation was the fundamental behavioral expression of the patient's illness. A sixteen-year-old boy in the eighth grade of school was referred to the Psychiatric Department of the University of Chicago Clinics by the Chicago Board of Education. The school authorities recognized the severe personality disorder in this boy who refused to look at people, kept his head turned away, and his eyes almost shut, trembled constantly, refused to speak except on rare occasions and then only in a monosyllabic whisper; whose written work at school was above average; and who, when he truanted, spent the time in the science museums. This behavior had been noticed by his teachers for about four years.

The patient was brought to the hospital in June, 1939, by his father, who seemed to have no conception of any illness, although he admitted that the patient had no friends, stayed up all night to read, and would not eat with the family. The patient was hospitalized for three weeks in July, 1939, after which arrangements were made to see him in the out-patient department.

The patient is the oldest of eight siblings, ranging in age from sixteen to two years. Donald, age fourteen, is the only one for whom the patient ever expressed any feeling or even recognition of existence except as added burdens in the family. The six oldest are boys and the two youngest girls. The father, aged forty-one, of German extraction, is a garment worker by trade and had married the patient's mother in spite of objections on the part of both families.

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