Five lectures on psycho-analysis. Editor’s note (1957).
In 1909, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, celebrated the twentieth year of its foundation and its President, Dr. G. Stanley Hall, invited Freud and some of his principal followers to take part in the occasion and to be awarded honorary degrees. Freud’s 5 lectures were delivered on Monday, September 6, 1909, and the 4 following days. The lectures were, according to Freud’s almost universal practice, delivered extempore without notes, and after very little preparation. It was only after his return to Vienna that he was induced unwillingly to write them out. All through his career Freud was constantly ready to give exposition of his discoveries. In spite of all the additions that were to be made to the structure of psychoanalysis during the following quarter of a century, these lectures provide an admirable preliminary picture which calls for very little correction. They give an excellent idea of the ease and clarity of style and the unconstrained sense of form which made Freud such a remarkable expository lecturer.
Five lectures on psycho-analysis (1910). First lecture.
Symptoms have psychological meaning.
Dr. Josef Breuer first used the procedure of psychoanalysis on a 21-year-old girl who was suffering from hysteria. Her illness lasted for over 2 years, and in the course of it she developed a series of physical and psychological disturbances which deserved to be taken seriously. She suffered from a rigid paralysis, accompanied by loss of sensation of both extremities on the right side of her body; and the same trouble from time to time affected her on the left side. It was observed that, while the patient was in her states of absence (altered personality accompanied by confusion), she was in the habit of muttering words to herself. Breuer put her into a type of hypnosis and repeated the muttered words to her so as to induce her to use them as a starting point. Her mental creations during the absences were melancholy phantasies. It was possible to bring about the disappearance of the painful symptoms of her illness, if she could remember, with an accompanying expression of affect, on what occasion and in what connection the symptoms had first appeared. Hysterical patients suffer from reminiscences and their symptoms are residues and mnemic symbols of particular (traumatic) experiences. Breuer’s patient, in almost all her pathogenic situations, was obliged to suppress a powerful emotion instead of allowing its discharge in the appropriate signs of emotion, words or actions. She exhibited a number of mental peculiarities: Conditions of absence, confusion, and alterations of character.
Five lectures on psycho-analysis (1910). Second lecture.
Repression and symptom formation.
At about the same time at which Breuer was carrying on the ‘talking cure’ with his patient, Charcot in Paris had begun the researches into hysterical patients at the Salpetriere. Pierre Janet first attempted a deeper approach to the peculiar psychical processes present in hysteria. According to him, hysteria is a form of degenerate modification of the nervous system, which shows itself in an innate weakness in the power of psychical synthesis. Without using hypnosis, Freud succeeded in obtaining from the patients whatever was required for establishing the connection between the pathogenic scenes they had forgotten and the symptoms left over from those scenes. The memories were in the patient’s possession and were ready to emerge in association to what was still known by him; but there was some force that prevented them from becoming conscious and compelled them to remain unconscious. The force which was maintaining the pathological condition became apparent in the form of resistance on the part of the patient. It was on this idea of resistance that Freud based his view of the course of psychical events in hysteria. The investigation of hysterical patients and of other neurotics leads to the conclusion that their repression of the idea to which the intolerable wish is attached has been a failure. It is true that they have driven it out of consciousness and out of memory and have apparently saved themselves a large amount of unpleasure. But the repressed wishful impulse continues to exist in the unconscious.
Five lectures on psycho-analysis (1910). Third lecture.
Psychic determinism, dreams, and parapraxes.
Freud cherished a high opinion of the strictness with which mental processes are determined, and found it impossible to believe that an idea produced by a patient while his attention was focused could be an arbitrary one and unrelated to the idea being sought. The fact that the 2 ideas were not identical could be satisfactorily explained from the postulated psychological state of affairs. In the patient under treatment, 2 forces were in operation against each other: on the one hand, his conscious endeavor to bring into consciousness the forgotten idea in his unconscious; and, on the other hand, the resistance which was striving to prevent what was repressed or its derivatives from becoming conscious. It is highly convenient to follow the Zurich school (Bleuler, Jung, etc.) in describing a group of interdependent ideational elements cathected with affect as a complex. If, in the search for a repressed complex in one of the patients, we start from the last thing he remembers, we have every prospect of discovering the complex, provided that the patient puts a sufficient number of his free associations at our disposal. Working over the ideas that occur to patients when they submit to the main rule of psychoanalysis is not the only technical method of discovering the unconscious. The same purpose is served by 2 other procedures: the interpretation of patients’ dreams and the exploitation of their faulty and haphazard actions. Psychoanalysis is seeking to bring to conscious recognition the things in mental life which are repressed.
Five lectures on psycho-analysis (1910). Fourth lecture.
Infantile sexuality and neurosis.
Psychoanalytic research, which consistently traces back the symptoms of patients’ illnesses to impressions from their erotic life, shows that the pathogenic wishful impulses are in the nature of erotic instinctual components. It forces us to suppose that among the influences leading to the illness, the predominant significance must be assigned to erotic disturbances; this is the case in both sexes. It is the experiences in childhood that explain susceptibility to later traumas and it is only by uncovering these forgotten memory traces and by making them conscious that we acquire the power to get rid of the symptoms. These powerful wishful impulses of childhood are described as sexual. The chief source of infantile sexual pleasure is the appropriate excitation of certain parts of the body that are especially susceptible to stimulus: apart from the genitals, these are the oral, anal and urethral orifices, as well as the skin and other sensory surfaces. Satisfaction, termed autoeroticism, is obtained from the subject’s own body. Thumb sucking (or sensual sucking) is a good example of autoerotic satisfaction from an erotogenic zone. Direct inhibitions in the development of the sexual function comprise the perversions and general infantilism in sexual life. An instinct which remains independent leads to a perversion, and may substitute its own sexual aim for the normal one. The predisposition to neurosis is also traceable to impaired sexual development.
Five lectures on psycho-analysis (1910). Fifth lecture.
Transference and resistance.
Human beings fall ill when, as a result of external obstacles or of an internal lack of adaptation, the satisfaction of their erotic needs in reality is frustrated. They take flight into illness in order that they may find a satisfaction to take the place of what has been frustrated. The pathological symptoms constitute a portion of the subject’s sexual activity or even the whole of his sexual life; the withdrawal from reality is the main purpose of the illness but also the main damage caused by it. Resistance to recovery is compounded of several motives. The flight from unsatisfactory reality into illness takes place along the path of involution, of regression, of a return to earlier phases of sexual life. In every psychoanalytic treatment of a neurotic patient the strange phenomenon that is known as transference makes its appearance. The patient directs towards the physician a degree of affectionate feeling which is based on no real relation between them and which can only be traced back to old wishful phantasies of the patient’s which have become unconscious. What becomes of the unconscious wishes which have been set free by psychoanalysis can take several paths. First, the wishes can be destroyed by the rational mental activity of the better impulses that are opposed to them. A second outcome is that it then becomes possible for the unconscious instincts revealed by it to be employed for the useful purposes which they would have found earlier if the development had not been interrupted. A third possible outcome is the individual’s own happiness.
Leonardo da Vinci and a memory of his childhood.
Editor’s note (1957).
Freud’s interest in Leonardo da Vinci is of long standing. The immediate stimulus to writingLeonardo da Vinci and a Memory of his Childhood appears to have come in the autumn of 1909 from one of his patients who, as he remarked in a letter to Jung, seemed to have the same constitution as Leonardo without his genius. This work of Freud’s was not the first application of the methods of clinical psychoanalysis to the lives of historical figures in the past. The main body of Freud’s study consists of the detailed construction of Leonardo’s emotional life from his earliest years, the account of the conflict between his artistic and his scientific impulses, the deep analysis of his psychosexual history. In addition to this main topic, the study presents us with a number of not less important side themes: a more general discussion of the nature and workings of the mind of the creative artist, an outline of the genesis of one particular type of homosexuality, and the first full emergence of the concept of narcissism.
Leonardo da Vinci and a memory of his childhood (1910).
Part I. Biographical material.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452 to 1519) was admired even by his contemporaries as one of the greatest men of the Italian renaissance. It is possible that the idea of a radiantly happy and pleasure-loving Leonardo is only applicable to the first and longer period of the artist’s life. Afterwards, when he was forced to leave Milan, until he found his last asylum in France, the sparkle of his temperament may have grown dim and some strange sides of his nature may have been thrown into prominence. The slowness with which Leonardo worked was proverbial. The slowness which had all along been conspicuous in Leonardo’s work is seen to be a symptom of his inhibition and to be the forerunner of his subsequent withdrawal from painting. Leonardo was notable for his quiet peaceableness and his avoidance of all antagonism and controversy. In an age which saw a struggle between sensuality without restraint and gloomy asceticism, Leonardo represented the cool repudiation of sexuality, a thing that would scarcely be expected of an artist and a portrayer of feminine beauty. When he became a Master, he surrounded himself with handsome boys and youths whom he took as pupils. The core of his nature, and the secret of it, would appear to be that after his curiosity had been activated in infancy in the service of sexual interest he succeeded in sublimating the greater part of his libido into an urge for research.
Leonardo da Vinci and a memory of his childhood (1910).
Part II. Leonardo’s childhood memory.
One of Leonardo’s childhood memories concerns a vulture that came down while Leonardo was in his cradle, opened his mouth with its tail, and struck him many times with its tail against his lips. This scene with the vulture is not a memory of Leonardo’s but a phantasy, which he formed at a later date and transposed to his childhood. This is often the way in which childhood memories originate. What the phantasy conceals is merely a reminiscence of suckling, or being suckled, at his mother’s breast, a scene of human beauty that he, like so many artists, undertook to depict with his brush in the guise of the mother of god and her child. The reminiscence has been transformed by the man Leonardo into a passive homosexual phantasy. The replacement of his mother by the vulture indicates that the child was aware of his father’s absence and found himself alone with his mother. The fact of Leonardo’s illegitimate birth is in harmony with his vulture phantasy; it was only on this account that he could compare himself to a vulture child.
Leonardo da Vinci and a memory of his childhood (1910).
Part III. Sexual interpretation of Leonardo’s childhood memory.
There is a strong presumption that Leonardo da Vinci, who had phantasies of a vulture was a homosexual. In this phantasy a mother who suckles her child is turned into a vulture and her breast into a vulture’s tail which signifies a penis. He appears as a man whose sexual need and activity were exceptionally reduced, as if a higher aspiration had raised him above the common animal need of mankind. It has always been emphasized that he took only strikingly handsome boys and youths as pupils, treated them with kindness and consideration, looked after them and, when they were ill, nursed them himself. Leonardo’s mother came to Milan in 1493 to visit her son; she fell ill there, was taken to the hospital by Leonardo, and when she died was honored by him with a costly funeral. A comparison with what happens in obsessional neurosis can explain Leonard’s account of the expenses of his mother’s funeral. In his unconscious he was still tied to her by erotically colored feeling, as he had been in childhood. Before a child. comes under the dominance of a castration complex, at a time when he still holds women at full value, he begins to display an intense desire to look, as an erotic instinctual activity. It was through Leonardo’s erotic relation with his mother that he became a homosexual. The opposition that came from the subsequent repression of this childhood love did not allow him to set up a different and worthier memorial to her in his diary. But what emerged as a compromise from this neurotic conflict had to be carried out; and thus it was that the financial account was entered in the diary, and has come to the knowledge of posterity as something unintelligible.
Leonardo da Vinci and a memory of his childhood (1910).
Part IV. The blissful smiles in Leonardo’s paintings.
Leonardo’s vulture phantasy is compounded from the memory of being suckled and being kissed by his mother. The idea that 2 distinct elements are combined in Mona Lisa’s smile is one that has struck several critics. They accordingly find in the beautiful Florentine’s expression the most perfect representation of the contrasts which dominate the erotic life of women; the contrast between reserve and seduction, and between the most devoted tenderness and a sensuality that is ruthlessly demanding. Leonardo da Vinci spent 4 years painting at this picture which contains the synthesis of the history of his childhood: its details are to be explained by reference to the most personal impressions in Leonardo’s life. In his father’s house he found not only his kind stepmother, Donna Albiera, but also his grandmother, his father’s mother, Monna Lucia, who was no less tender to him than grandmothers usually are. If Leonardo was successful in reproducing on Mona Lisa’s face the double meaning which this smile contained, the promise of unbounded tenderness and at the same time sinister menace, then here too he had remained true to the content of his earliest memory. For this mother’s tenderness was fateful for him; it determined his destiny and the privations that were in store for him. The violence of the caresses, to which his phantasy of the vulture points, was only too natural.
Leonardo da Vinci and a memory of his childhood (1910).
Part V. Effects of father-loss on Leonardo.
Among the entries in Leonardo’s notebooks there is one which catches the reader’s attention owing to the importance of what it contains and to a minute formal error. The note refers to the death of Leonardo’s father. The small error consists of the repetition of the time of day (at 7 o’clock), which is given twice, as if Leonardo had forgotten at the end of the sentence that he had already written it at the beginning. This type of repetition is called perseveration and indicates affective color. The note is a case in which Leonardo was unsuccessful in suppressing his affect. The effect which Leonardo’s identification with his father had on his paintings was a fateful one. He created them and then cared no more about them. Psychoanalysis has shown that there is a connection between the father complex and belief in God. Leonardo was charged with unbelief or with apostasy from Christianity during his lifetime. The great Leonardo remained like a child for the whole of his life. Even as an adult he continued to play, and this was one of the reasons why he often appeared uncanny and incomprehensible to his contemporaries. Whenever children feel their sexual urges, they dream of fulfilling their wishes through flying. Leonardo admits that he has always felt bound to the problem of flight. It is probable that Leonard’s play instinct vanished in his mature years; but its long duration can teach us how slowly anyone tears himself from his childhood if in his childhood days he has enjoyed the highest erotic bliss, which is never again attained.
Leonardo da Vinci and a memory of his childhood (1910).
Part VI. Justification of pathobiography.
Freud insists that he never reckoned Leonardo da Vinci as a neurotic. The aim of the work has been to explain the inhibitions in Leonardo’s sexual life and in his artistic activity. His illegitimate birth deprived him of his father’s influence until perhaps his fifth year, and left him open to the tender seductions of a mother whose only solace he was. A powerful wave of repression brought his childhood excess to an end and established the dispositions which were to become manifest in the years of puberty. The most obvious result of the transformation was the avoidance of every crudely sensual activity; Leonardo was enabled to live in abstinence and to give the impression of being an asexual human being. Leonardo emerges from the obscurity of Iris boyhood as an artist, a painter and a sculptor. It seems as if only a man who had had Leonardo’s childhood experiences could have painted the Mona Lisa and the St. Anne.
The future prospects of psycho-analytic therapy (1910).
The Future Prospects of Psychoanalytic Therapy was delivered as an address at the opening of the Second Psychoanalytical Congress, held at Nuremberg on March 30 and 31, 1910. We have not come to the end of our resources for combating the neuroses but can soon expect a substantial improvement in therapeutic prospects. This reinforcement will come from 3 directions: 1) from internal progress including advances in analytic knowledge and in technique; 2) from increased authority; and 3) from the general effect of psycho-analytic work. Every advance in knowledge means an increase in therapeutic power. The treatment is made up of 2 parts: what the physician infers and tells the patient, and the patient’s working over of what he has heard. New things are to be learned in the field of symbolism in dreams and in the unconscious. Technique has changed from the cathartic treatment to uncovering the complexes. Authority is necessary since only very few civilized people are capable of existing without reliance on others or are even capable of coming to an independent opinion. The general effect of the work will hopefully result in a Utopian4ike community. All the energies which are consumed in the production of neurotic symptoms serving the purposes of a world of phantasy isolated from reality will help to strengthen the clamor for the changes in our civilization through which we can look for the well-being of future generations.
The antithetical meaning of primal words (1910).
The Antithetical Meaning of Primal Words is a review of the pamphlet by Karl Abel, bearing the same title. The dream interpreters of antiquity have made use of the notion that a thing in a dream can mean its opposite. The dream work disregards negation and employs the same means of representation for expressing contraries. The behavior of the dream work is identical with a peculiarity in the oldest languages known to us. In the Egyptian language, there are a number of words with 2 meanings, one of which is the exact opposite of the other. Of all the eccentricities of the Egyptian vocabulary, perhaps the most extraordinary feature is that, quite apart from the words that combine antithetical meanings, it possesses other compound words in which 2 vocables of antithetical meanings are united so as to form a compound which bears the meaning of only 1 of its 2 constituents. According to Abel, it is in the oldest roots that antithetical double meanings are found to occur. in the subsequent course of the language’s development this ambiguity disappeared and, in Ancient Egyptian at any rate, all the intermediate stages can be followed, down to the unambiguousness of modern vocabularies. The concepts which could only be arrived at by means of an antithesis became, in course of time, sufficiently familiar to men’s minds to make an independent existence possible for each of their 2 parts and accordingly to enable a separate phonetic representative to be formed for each part.
A special type of choice of object made by men.
(Contributions to the psychology of love I) (1910).
In the course of psychoanalytic treatment there are opportunities for collecting impressions of the way in which neurotics behave in love. A number of necessary preconditions for loving a particular object choice are presented. The first of the preconditions for loving is termed the precondition that there should be an injured third party; it stipulates that the person in question shall never choose as his love object a woman who is disengaged but only one to whom another man can claim right of possession. The second precondition is that a woman who is chaste and whose reputation is irreproachable never exercises an attraction that might raise her to the status of a love object but only a woman who is in some way or other, of bad repute sexually. This is connected with the experiencing of jealousy. The lover’s behavior towards the object he has chosen is also presented. In normal love the woman’s value is measured by her sexual integrity and is reduced by any approach to the characteristic of being like a prostitute. Hence the fact that women with this characteristic are considered by neurotic men to be love objects of the highest value seems to be a striking departure from the normal. A fourth precondition is where the relationship is a compulsive one with the man showing an urge to rescue the woman he loves. The psychical origins of neurotic love are derived from the infantile fixation of tender feelings on the mother and represent one of the consequences of that fixation. The love objects are mother surrogates. There is a connection between the rescue motif and the parental complex which results in an urge to rescue the loved one.
On the universal tendency to debasement in the sphere of love. (Contributions to the psychology of love II) (1912).
Psychical impotence affects men of strongly libidinous natures and manifests itself in a refusal to carry out the sexual act. A failure of this kind arises when the attempt is made with certain individuals. The foundation of the disorder is provided by an inhibition in the developmental history of the libido before it assumes the form of its normal termination. Two factors whose union is necessary to ensure a completely normal attitude in love have failed to combine: the affectionate and the sensual. The affectionate current springs from the earliest years of childhood; it is formed on the basis of the self-preservative instinct and is directed to the close members of the family. These affectionate fixations persist throughout childhood, and continually carry along with them eroticism, which is consequently diverted from its sexual aims. Then at the age of puberty they are joined by the powerful sensual current which no longer mistakes its aims. Two factors decide whether the advance in the developmental path of the libido is to fail: 1) the amount of frustration in reality and 2) the amount of attraction which the relinquished infantile objects are able to exercise. The behavior in love of men in the civilized world bears the stamp of psychical impotence. The curb put upon love by civilization involves a universal tendency to debase sexual objects. The irreconcilable difference between the demands of the sexual and egoistic instincts has made men capable of ever higher achievements, though subject to a constant danger of neurosis to which the weaker succumb.
The taboo of virginity. (Contributions to the psychology of love III) (1918).
For primitive peoples, defloration is a significant act; but it has become the subject of a religious taboo. Instead of reserving it for the girl’s bridegroom and future partner in marriage, custom demands that he shall shun the performance of it. The first attempt at explanation is based on the horror of blood among primitive races who consider blood as the seat of love. A second explanation suggests that primitive man is prey to a perpetual lurking apprehensiveness, just as the psychoanalytic theory of the neuroses claims it to be the case with people suffering from anxiety neurosis. A third explanation draws attention to the fact that the taboo of virginity is part of a large totality which embraces the whole of sexual life. Wherever primitive man has set up a taboo he fears some danger and it cannot be disputed that a generalized dread of women is expressed. The intention underlying the taboo of defloration is that of denying or sparing the future husband something which cannot be dissociated from the first sexual act. The first act of intercourse mobilizes a number of impulses which are out of place in the desired feminine attitude. Defloration has not only the one, civilized consequence of binding the woman lastingly to the man; it also unleashes an archaic reaction of hostility towards him, which is expressed in the appearance of inhibitions in the erotic side of married life, and to which we may ascribe the fact that second marriages so often turn out better than the first.
The psycho-analytic view of psychogenic disturbance of vision (1910).
The psychoanalytic view of psychogenic disturbance of vision is presented. Hysterical blindness is taken as the type of a psychogenic visual disturbance. In a hysteric, the idea of being blind arises spontaneously. In patients predisposed to hysteria there is an inherent tendency to dissociation, to a falling apart of the connections in their mental field, as a consequence of which some unconscious processes do not continue as far as into the conscious. The hysterical patient is blind, not as the result of an autosuggestive idea that he cannot see, but as the result of a dissociation between unconscious and conscious processes in the act of seeing. The eyes perceive not only alterations in the external world, which are important for the preservation of life, but also characteristics of objects which lead to their being chosen as objects of love, their charms. The closer the relation into which an organ with a dual function enters with one of the major instincts, the more it withholds itself from the other. This principle is bound to lead to pathological consequences if the 2 fundamental instincts are disunited and if the ego maintains a repression of the sexual component instinct concerned. If an organ which serves the 2 sorts of instinct increases its erotogenic role, it is to be expected that this will not occur without the excitability and innervation of the organ undergoing changes which will manifest themselves as disturbances of its function in the service of the ego.
‘Wild’ Psycho-analysis (1910).
A middle aged lady called upon Freud for a consultation complaining of anxiety states. The precipitating cause of her anxiety states had been a divorce from her last husband but these states became worse after she consulted a young physician and he had informed her that the cause of her anxiety was her lack of sexual satisfaction. The doctor’s advice to the lady shows in what sense he understands the expression sexual life, namely, in which by sexual needs nothing is meant but the need for coitus or analogous acts producing orgasms and emission of the sexual substances. In contrast, in psychoanalysis, the concept of what is sexual comprises all the activities of the tender feelings which have primitive sexual impulses as their source. For this reason we prefer to speak of psychosexuality, thus laying stress on the point that the mental factor in sexual life should not be overlooked or underestimated. The doctor’s suggesting she solve this need for sexual satisfaction by going back to her husband, taking a lover, or masturbating leaves no room for psychoanalysis. It is a long superseded idea that the patient suffers from a sort of ignorance, and that if one removes this ignorance by giving him information he is bound to recover. The pathological factor is not his ignorance in itself, but the root of this ignorance in his inner resistances. The task of the treatment lies in combating these resistances. Psychoanalytic intervention requires a fairly long period of contact with the patient. First, the patient must reach the area of what he has repressed, and secondly, he must have formed a sufficient attachment (transference) to the physician for his emotional relationship to him to make a fresh flight into neurosis impossible. It is concluded that ‘wild’ analysts do more harm to the cause of psychoanalysis than to the individual patients.
Contributions to a discussion on suicide (1910).
If it is the case that youthful suicide occurs not only among pupils in secondary schools but also among apprentices and others, this fact does not acquit the secondary schools of their guilt in precipitating causes but it must perhaps be interpreted as meaning that (as regards its pupils) the secondary school takes the place of the traumas with which other adolescents meet in other walks of life. A secondary school should offer its students support and backing at a time of life at which the conditions of their development compel them to relax their ties with their parental home and their family. Schools fail in this, and in many respects fall short of their duty of providing a substitute for the family and of arousing interest in life in the world outside. The school must never forget that it has to deal with immature individuals who cannot be denied a right to linger at certain stages of development and even at certain disagreeable ones.
Letter to Dr. Friedrich S. Krauss on ‘Anthropophyteia’ (1910).
In a letter to Dr. Friedrich S. Krauss, Freud discusses Anthropophyteia. The erotic quips and comic anecdotes that have been collected and published in Anthropophyteia have been produced and repeated because they gave pleasure both to their narrators and their hearers. These tales give us direct information as to which of the component instincts of sexuality are retained in a given group of people as particularly efficient in producing pleasure; and in this way they give the neatest confirmation of the findings reached by the psychoanalytic examination of neurotics. Psychoanalysis has led us to assert that the anal region is the site of an erotogenic sensitivity. Anthropophyteia shows how universally people dwell with pleasure upon this part of the body, its performances and indeed the product of its function. In psychoanalysis today we describe a congeries of ideas and its associated affect as a complex; and we are prepared to assert that many of the most admired jokes are complexive jokes and that they owe their exhilarating and cheerful effect to the ingenious uncovering of what are as a rule repressed complexes. It is safe to hope that the psychological importance of folklore will be more and more clearly recognized, and that the relations between that branch of study and psychoanalysis will soon become more intimate.
Two instances of pathogenic phantasies revealed by the patients themselves (1910).
Two instances of pathogenic phantasies revealed by the patients themselves are presented. A 20-year-old patient gave an unmistakable picture of a schizophrenic (dementia praecox, hebephrenia). During the initial stages of his illness he had exhibited periodic changes of mood and had made a considerable improvement. His relapse followed upon a week of festivities. When he was brought back to the institution, he said that the consulting physician had advised him to flirt with his mother a little. There can be no doubt that in his delusory paramnesia he was giving expression to the excitement which had been provoked in him by being in his mother’s company and which had been the immediate provocation of his relapse. More than 10 years ago, at a time when the findings and hypotheses of psychoanalysis were known to oniy a few people, the following events were reported. A girl, who was the daughter of a medical man, fell ill of hysteria with local symptoms. One day a friend of the patient’s asked her if she ever thought of consulting Dr. Freud. The patient replied that he would ask if she ever had the idea of having sexual intercourse with her father. It is not Freud’s practice to ask such questions; however, it is worth remarking that much of what patients report of the words and actions of their physicians may be understood as revelations of their own pathogenic phantasies.
Review of Wilhelm Neutra’s ‘letters to neurotic women(1910).
A review of Wilhelm Neutra’s Letters to Neurotic Women is presented. The book cannot be hailed as an encouraging phenomenon. The author, who is an assistant physician in the Gainfarn hydropathic institute near Vienna, has borrowed the form of Oppenheim’sPsychotherapeutische Briefe and has given that form a psychoanalytic content. The author fails to attain the merits of his model, tact and moral seriousness, and in his presentation of psychoanalytic theory he often drops into empty rhetoric and is also guilty of some misstatements. Nevertheless, much of what he writes is neatly and aptly expressed; and the book may pass muster as a work for popular consumption.
Abstracts of the Standard Edition of
the Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud
Carrie Lee Rothgeb, Editor