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Kolansky, H. (1960). Treatment of a Three-Year-Old Girl's Severe Infantile Neurosis—Stammering and Insect Phobia. Psychoanal. St. Child, 15:261-285.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 15:261-285

Treatment of a Three-Year-Old Girl's Severe Infantile Neurosis—Stammering and Insect Phobia

Harold Kolansky, M.D.

This paper will present in considerable detail the brief but intensive treatment of a three-year-old suffering with a very severe infantile neurosis. Freud (1938), in the seventh chapter of An Outline of Psychoanalysis, said of the infantile neurosis:

It seems that neuroses are only acquired during early childhood (up to the age of six), even though their symptoms may not make their appearance until much later. The infantile neurosis may become manifest for a short time or may be overlooked. [Neuroses occur in this period because at this time in the child's development, the ego is] weak, immature and incapable of resistance … [and thus fails] in dealing with problems which it could later manage with the utmost ease … The helpless ego fends off these problems by attempts at flight (by repressions), which turn out later to be ineffective and which involve permanent hindrances to further development. The damage inflicted upon the ego by its first experiences may seem disproportionately great [pp. 83-84].

Although Freud indicates the universality of the infantile neurosis, he also implies that this neurosis can be severe and may hinder further development.

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