About Case Study in Psychoanalysis
- Read also:-> Billy's Dream (Learn how we use dream interpretation in psychoanalytic cure)
Psychoanalytical casuistry is perhaps the most exciting domain of psychoanalysis. This is because when reading a case analysis, we see haw and why, and are usually inclined to apply the psychoanalytic
methods of approaching the psychic disorders upon ourselves.
The casuistry published on this site, nevertheless, is no easy job. For lay persons (beginners or others without any prior experience with the
psychoanalytic statements) much of our psychoanalytic work may seem rather uncertain. That is why case publishing requires a lot of skill from us, the more so as the unconditional discretion rule regarding the personal
life of those subjects of such cases must also be met.
In addition, the specific conditions for website publication impose a limitation of editing space so that no comprehensive account of the patient personal
history will therefore be available.
Everything is limited to a few hints the author of the article (and of the analysis too) provides hoping to render the background of the case as complete as possible.
following is the first case that shows how we actually approach our patients - more cases will be published soon (see also the above one).
A Case with a Legacy
By I.D. Hora
The best method to acquire the psychoanalytical
technique is to allow yourself to be psychoanalyzed. Just as with swimming, there's nothing you can do unless you go beyond theoretical information and dare dive to see the why and the how for yourself...
No matter how much we tried to simplify things, when the uninitiated are introduced to psychoanalyzed cases, we have to keep in mind that eloquence alone cannot replace the live experience of
self-analysis. Our readers will certainly understand the impediment.
An example of successful analysis in record time will get us somewhat acquainted with the psychoanalytical technique.
Several other illustrations will follow, without pretending to bring the subject to a close.
Ours is the case of a lady we shall call Amelia, about 35, married and the mother of a 10-year old;
she works for an important company in X. The woman complains of a troublesome symptom: persistent insomnia. "persistent", as it defies any kind of conventional treatment. "Night after night, I make
desperate efforts to sleep". She succeeds towards dawn, when, actually exhausted, she finally falls asleep.
To her sleeplessness, there adds a weird mood of apprehension, an uneasiness psychoanalysts
use to call anxiety. My question is:
- What brings about this condition?
- Something like an anticipation; as if I were expecting something and were not sure what...
- Would you please try to remember some
circumstance when you experienced the same thing? I insist.
- Exams, maybe, when I was at school? Or, Christmas Eve rather, when I used to wait for Santa. Or, why not, when I would plan a trip or a celebration
and would eagerly count every minute to it...
- Any trouble at work, I ask, any tests, exams for a higher position or things like that?
- None, came the unwavering reply, nothing special.
inquire about Amelia's economic standing. I find both she and her husband earn enough to make a decent living. There would be room for some additional income, though. "You know how it goes", she adds, "
the more you have, the more you want".
I consider the associations Amelia has made concerning her anxiety. Exams, Christmas, Santa, family celebrations and reunions with friends etc. Anxiety is
obviously a state of anticipation, just like when you are looking forward to an extremely important event you crave for. But what could that event be? Let us also keep in mind her insomnia, suggesting the same
powerful, irrepressible experience. Sleeplessness and anxiety go hand in hand. Both are indicative of an intense concentration of emotions towards a certain direction we expect a lot from...
Psychoanalysts often need moments of insight, more precisely the feeling they know what a certain case is about. Theirs is an intuitive job (which we also call empathy). That "clairvoyance" urges
us to articulate it and, obviously, ask patients the key question giving instant clarification to the nature of their disturbance. In this case, the question I asked was:
- Do you happen to have a dying relative, are
you looking ahead to some inheritance?
The answer was immediate, betraying Amelia's bewilderment:
- Yes! It's my uncle, she assured me, he's over 80 and he's awfully rich!
- Are you his heiress?
- His one and only heir!, she specified.
- Your case is solved then, I replied. Your eagerness to get the inheritance is to blame for both your insomnia and your anxiety. Given your uncle's age, you think the long
dreamed-of moment for getting your heritage is drawing nearer by the day. Hence your anxious anticipation and sleeplessness, betraying your wish for this moment to arrive as soon as possible, just as you used to eagerly
wait for your Christmas presents.
Not all cases are solved on the first session. The case above was a
"fortunate one", which is a rare occasion. But let us keep one thing in mind: although aware of her own wish (to lay hands on the inheritance), the
patient was unable to relate it to her symptoms; hence her concern for her own health.
The meaning of her symptoms clarified, Amelia was reassured (the enigma
of the disease itself is reason for concern) and she was finally able to get back her wholesome sleep.
This paper has been first published in the psychoanalytic journal OMEN, editated by the Romanian Association for Psychoanalysis Promotion. The English translation is made by Mihaela Cristea.