Elective mutism: psychoanalytic view of the problem



Elective mutism is looked at through the prism of psychological problems leading to a formation of 'voluntary refusal' to speak. These psychological problems are explored through clinical material from the psychotherapy of a 5 year old girl. The major factors significant in this process are 1) excessive ties to mother that hinder the child's social-emotional development; 2) difficulties in discharging aggression in a situation when it is not possible to feel separate from mother; 3) primitive ways of dealing with aggressive feelings based on phantasy and omnipotence; and 4) the symbolic equation of anus and mouth, at the developmental phase of mastery of both speech and sphincter control, as a cause of withholding words.

General Information

Keywords: elective mutism, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, motherAinfant relationship, aggression.

Journal rubric: Case study

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Vasilyeva N.L. Elective mutism: psychoanalytic view of the problem. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2013. Vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 208–225. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Nina L. Vasilyeva, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Child and Parent Mental Health and Early Intervention Chair, Department of Psychology, St. Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, e-mail: ninavasilyeva@yandex.ru



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