In this study, the authors present the clinical case of Mrs. M, who was seen for the first time at age 7—when she received psychotherapy for two years—and again at age 30. We focus on two dimensions of the case. The first is psychodynamic. This allows us to interpret the patient’s disorder using the concept of “orality,” which has been at work throughout the patient’s life, primarily in connection with the quality of her relationship with the maternal object. The second is nosographic. We discuss the utility of the concept of “infantile psychosis,” a term found exclusively in French nosography. In English-language work, all serious clinical situations in childhood are grouped under the term “autism spectrum disorders.” Mrs. M’s development towards schizophrenia shows the need for a diagnosis that differentiates between these two clinical concepts that correspond to very different psychological functionings.
- infantile psychosis
- autism spectrum disorder