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HYSTERICAL STIGMATIZATION
JOSEPH E. LIFSCHUTZ
Am J Psychiatry 1957;114:527-531.
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Abstract

The history of stigmatization has fascinated observers from the time of St. Francis of Assisi in the 13th Century to the present. That history is reviewed here. Carefully detailed studies of a modern stigmatized person, Therese Neumann, reveals a seriously disturbed young woman, a severe hysterical personality. One even suspects psychotic disturbances before her stigmatization.Far more rare are reports of non-religious stigmatization. The most striking report is that of William Needles in a case undergoing psychoanalysis. The classical psychodynamic interpretation of hysterical stigmata by Fenichel and Ferenczi is quoted in which they are seen as hysterical "materializations" or "genitalizations." A non-religious stigmatization is reported in this paper, in which the Oedipal conflicts and ambivalences seem to be directly expressed.

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