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May 1967

Some Riddles of Riddance: Relationships Between Eliminative Processes and Emotion

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;16(5):586-602. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730230070010

SCIENCE often starts with an anecdote. So will this paper, devoted to some processes which have an important relationship to emotions and instinctive states.

A young man, described later as "The Motorcyclist," was nearing the end of a long and successful psychoanalysis. He spoke, in a way that was rare for him, of fondness and respect for me. Then he had an image of his mother, whom he usually pictured as a witch; now for a fleeting moment he remembered her tenderly. A violent spasm of coughing interrupted him. The patient denied that this had any connection with his transient but strong emotion; instead he insisted that he had swallowed a tiny gnat which had been buzzing around his head. He was so sure of this that he went to the bathroom to try to rinse out his throat.

Returning to the couch, he turned

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