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Brenner, C. (1951). A Case of Childhood Hallucinosis. Psychoanal. St. Child, 6:235-243.

(1951). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 6:235-243

A Case of Childhood Hallucinosis

Charles Brenner, M.D.

The following report is based on the observations made by a mother on the sudden and dramatic neurosis of her daughter, J.

Until the onset of her illness, at the age of three and a half years, J. had been to all appearances a normally developed, happy, and well-adjusted child, except for some constipation, which will be discussed below. She was somewhat precocious intellectually, and was expert in winning the admiration of adults, which she eagerly sought. She had never had any serious physical illness.

It is important that the reader know certain events which preceded the onset of J.'s neurosis. In the first place, during the last four months of her pregnancy with J., and for the next four years, J.'s mother suffered from a physical illness characterized by difficulty in walking or lifting, due to pains in her back and legs. Her health improved steadily, though slowly, and she had very little residual disability at the time J.'s neurosis began. However, she was advised to have no more children, and when asked about this by J. and her sister C., who was three years J.'s senior, she explained to the children in simple terms why another pregnancy was inadvisable. She said that both parents had made the decision, and emphasized the fact that her illness was a rare event in pregnancy, that most mothers felt perfectly well while pregnant, etc.

J. had asked the usual questions about babies and sexual anatomy in the year or two prior to her illness, and they had been answered by her mother to what the latter judged to be the limit of the child's understanding.

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