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Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 2075-3470

ISSN (online): 2311-9446


License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Started in 1992

Published quarterly

Free of fees
Open Access Journal


Elective mutism: psychoanalytic view of the problem 4372

Vasilyeva N.L.
Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Child and Parent Mental Health and Early Intervention Chair, Department of Psychology, St. Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia

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.

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

Column: Study case

For Reference

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