chapter  9
Talking makes things happen: a contribution to the understanding of patients’ use of speech in the clinical situation
ByATHOL HUGHES
Pages 15

A 7-year-old boy in analysis asked me, ‘Do your joints fall off when you have leprosy?’To my request that he tell me what he thought leprosy was, he replied, ‘When you don’t feel anything’. He was expressing quite clearly the idea that the lack of feelings leads to atrophy of ‘joints that fall off ’. Such joints are not available for movement; lack of movement is related ‘to not feeling anything’. To this boy, a disease that leads to physical atrophy and that is connected to lack of feeling, finds its counterpart in the emotional world where lack of feeling leads to atrophy of movement, to no change and no development.