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Katan, M. (1975). Childhood Memories as Contents of Schizophrenic Hallucinations and Delusions. Psychoanal. St. Child, 30:357-374.

(1975). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 30:357-374

Childhood Memories as Contents of Schizophrenic Hallucinations and Delusions

Maurits Katan, M.D.

THE TITLE OF THIS PAPER REFERS TO THE INFLUENCE OF CHILDHOOD experiences upon schizophrenic symptom formation, a phenomenon for which the psychoanalytic theory has so far found no solution. This phenomenon has puzzled me for more than twenty years. My puzzlement increased when Niederland (1959) compared the methods of child rearing used by Schreber's father with the contents of some of Schreber's psychotic symptoms and found a clear relation between them. Niederland convincingly demonstrated that Schreber's early childhood experiences resulting from his father's upbringing made their appearance almost half a century later as contents of his schizophrenic symptoms.

In my discussion of Niederland's paper (1960a), I stressed that his findings contained a specific problem: why did these memories become conscious as the contents of schizophrenic symptoms instead of simply being recalled as childhood experiences? Particularly conspicuous was Schreber's complete unawareness of the fact that he was dealing with memories of his own childhood. He conceived of these memories as newly created events caused by a persecutor such as Flechsig or God. Niederland's remarkable discovery thus gave rise to a problem which successfully resisted all attempts at explanation.

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