PSYCHO-ANALYSIS AND ASSOCIATION EXPERIMENTSby Carl Jung
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IT is not easy to give in a few words the basis of Freud's theory of hysteria and his psycho-analytic method. The nomenclature and Freud's conceptions are still in flux—fortunately, I would add. For despite the extraordinary progress which our knowledge of hysteria has made in the last few years, thanks to Freud's… See more details below
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An excerpt from the beginning:
IT is not easy to give in a few words the basis of Freud's theory of hysteria and his psycho-analytic method. The nomenclature and Freud's conceptions are still in flux—fortunately, I would add. For despite the extraordinary progress which our knowledge of hysteria has made in the last few years, thanks to Freud's works, neither Freud nor we who follow him have reached finality. No one must be astounded, therefore, if Freud in his most recent work on hysteria has again, to a large extent, abandoned the nomenclature of his Studies in Hysteria, and has substituted a series of other and more fitting expressions. Freud's terms should not be always regarded as strictly limited scientific concepts, but rather as occasional expressions of a language rich in new forms. Those who write about Freud should avoid logomachy but should keep in mind the essence of the thing.
Freud traces every hysteria back to a series of psychical traumata, which finally reach their apex in a sexual trauma of pre-puberty. Naturally, the so-called psychogenic character of hysteria was known before Freud. (For a precise demarcation of the psychogenic we are particularly indebted to Mobius.) It was known that hysteria arises from presentations which are distinguished by their strength of emotion. But Freud was the first to show us the path traversed by the psychological process. He found that the hysterical symptom is essentially a symbol for presentations (sexual in the ultimate analysis) which are not present in the conscious, but are repressed from the conscious by strong inhibitions. Repression arises from the critical presentations being so charged with pain (unpleasure) as to be insupportable to the conscious self.
Inseparably bound up with this conception is the psychoanalytic method. It provides us with the knowledge of the repressed material of presentation that has become unconscious. If we ask patients directly as to the cause of their illness we always receive incorrect, or at least imperfect, information. If we did receive correct information as in other (physical) illnesses, we should have known long ago about the psychogenic nature of hysteria. But it is just the point of hysteria that it represses the real cause, the psychic trauma, forgets it and replaces it by superficial " cover causes." That is why hysterics ceaselessly tell us that their illness arose from a cold, from overwork, from real organic disorders. And many physicians thus allow themselves again and again to be deceived. Others go to the opposite extreme and maintain that all hysterics he. But that is because they completely misconceive the psychological conditionings of hysteria, which really consist in this, that presentations insupportable to the conscious ego are repressed and cannot be therefore reproduced. Freud's psycho-analytic methods circumvent the inhibitions which the conscious ego sets up towards the repressed presentations. The essence of the method consists in the patient simply relating everything, without selection, that comes into his mind (Freud called this "free association "). The method is completely presented in Freud's work, The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). Although it is theoretically a priori certain that law will control all the thoughts that occur to a person, it is readily understandable that a person without great experience would go astray in this labyrinth of ideas, and would finally get hopelessly stuck. It is, and will remain, one of the chief reasons against the general application of Freud's method that delicate psychological intuition in the doctor is as much a requisite as technique for a psycho-analysis; the physician must possess individual characteristics which cannot be presupposed to exist in every doctor or psychologist. Then for psycho-analysis one's thoughts must have a particular bent, having in view the understanding of symbols. But this adjustment is only to be gained with industrious practice. It is a tendency of the mind, inborn in a poet, but carefully avoided in scientific thought, the constellation here being towards sharply-cut images. Thinking in symbols requires a new adjustment from us just as if we had to begin to think in flight ideas. It would seem that these are some of the reasons why Freud's methods have only been understood by few, and practised by even fewer; there are, indeed, but a few workers who value Freud's work theoretically or practically.
Despite the many valuable experiences which Freud has expounded for us, psycho-analysis is a very difficult art, for every beginner rapidly loses courage and orientation in face of the innumerable obstacles. Safe foundations are wanting from whence to start; when you have to begin with a patient at haphazard, so to say, you are often at a loss where to begin the attack.
Association experiments have helped us to get over these first and chief difficulties....
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