Friday, November 11, 2005

The second Duess Test example

This other case is a girl of nine, referred to the Lafargue Clinic because she had a severe reading problem and was described as "very nervous." She also was a great comic-book reader. These are her responses to three fables:


A father bird and a mother bird and their little baby bird are asleep in their nest on the branch of a tree. But there comes a big storm. It breaks the branch of the tree and the nest falls to the ground. The father bird flies quickly to one tree, the mother bird to another tree. What will the baby bird do? He knows how to fly a little.

HER ANSWER: He will die because he can't fly so well.


A mother sheep and her little lamb are in a field. Every evening the mother sheep gives the little lamb good warm milk, which the little lamb likes very much. But it can already eat grass. One day the mother sheep has a new little lamb which is hungry for the mother to give him milk. But the mother sheep has not enough milk for both little lambs, so she says to the first lamb: "I haven't got enough milk for both of you, go and eat some fresh grass."

What will the lamb do?

HER ANSWER: Eat the grass. Get mad because he doesn't want the other little lamb to drink the milk.


Somebody in the family has taken the train and has gone very far away and will never return home.

Who is it? Who can go away in the family?

HER ANSWER: She can go out in the country. Maybe she doesn't come back because she is mad at the father. Maybe she liked it there better. Or they could get hurt by a car. They could be dead. The mother could be dead.

The test results show indications of intrinsic psychological factors. The extrinsic situational influence of comic-book reading played only a minor role. Further analysis of this child showed that she had ticlike movements at times and suffered from compulsions. For example, she had to touch the ground with her hand. She had death wishes and profound feelings of hostility. Comic books did not intrude in her emotional life because she was too preoccupied with herself and had already built up such abnormal defenses as compulsions. All this started five years previously at the birth of her baby sister, of whom she was intensely jealous.