Psychotherapy of Hysteria

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The Psychotherapy of Hysteria

from Studies on Hysteria by Sigmund Freud

Freud begins the chapter with the statement of his discovery of a therapeutic method that is once a patient had described a traumatic event in the utmost detail the symptom of this trauma immediately disappears. Essentially when the patient is able to put the trauma into ordinary language and disassociate himself or herself from relieving the trauma. He goes on to see how far this method takes him in the study of hysteria.

Freud then talks about the method of hypnosis as a tool in understanding hysteria. He forms the opinion that although the principle may be sound concerning hypnosis that it could not be used as the only technique and because that hypnosis was not effective with all hysterical patients it would be wrong to use it as a fundamental basis in unearthing the traumatic events contained in a patients mind.

Later on in the chapter Freud makes the point that the cathartic method cannot prevent fresh symptoms from taking the places of the ones it got rid of. Through this thinking he begins to reconstruct his opinion on the characteristics of hysteria opposed to other neuroses.

As he begins to describe his findings and the methods into understanding hysteria Freud firstly states that neuroses that are acquired are primarily caused by sexual factors. Furthermore, different sexual factors produce different pictures of neurotic disorders. He gives the term 'anxiety neurosis' to a condition that derives from an accumulation of physical tension which originates with sexual tension which manifests itself with such symptoms as phobias, 'anxious expectation', hyperaesthesia to pains and other factors in the patients mental life. He also recognised obsessional ideas and neurasthenia as typical traits found under the general heading of hysteria. Freud then talks about...