Trauma and Hysteria as Recurrent Themes in the Work of Sigmund Freud

Essay by fburgvaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Downloaded 70 times

In this as in recent generations, when you ask a person who Sigmund Freud was, perhaps asking a friend or colleague, you will receive an answer along the lines of, "Isn't he the scientist who came up without he idea that all kids want to grow up and marry the person of the opposite sex". Though this may be more or less a general understanding of Freud and the Oedipus Complex, you'll find that as far as most people are concerned, that was the main work, some say only work, he did during his life; focusing on that one theory. Knowledge of the Oedipus Complex is important in understanding most of Freud's work; it is by no means that one theory that gained him notoriety.

In most of Freud's works, earlier and that of his latter period, there are pervasive themes that he saw as significant and even common and somewhat necessary in the life of humans.

These can be seen running through most if not all of his theories. One of these themes is that of trauma. Trauma, which is a Greek word, literally means a wound and as such Freud found it consistently was the causal stress or factor in a hysterical illness.

Freud's theory concerning trauma was that psychological and emotional trauma is a central and necessary part of human growth and development. For example, a hungry baby, while being comforted by a parent or care taker may be able to arrive at a state of

believing it is getting what it wants, possibly tasting food and feeling comforted by perceptions of smell and taste it experiences while actually eating. This perception though, is short lived and the baby comes back to the realization it has not eaten, is still

Trauma and Hysteria 3

hungry and needs...