A Revolutionary Approach

Studies on Hysteria

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Studies on Hysteria

Studies on Hysteria by S. Freud and J. Breuer

Studies on Hysteria is the book published in 1895 by Sigmund Freud in collaboration with Joseph Breuer. The book was first published under the original German title Studien über Hysterie. Freud and Dr. Breuer studied hysteria and decided to publish a book in order to describe their case studies.

The authors describe hysteria “as a clinical picture which has been empirically discovered and is based on observation, in just the same way as tubercular pulmonary phthisis” (Joseph, B., Freud, S. (1895). Studies on Hysteria).

In 1893, Sigmund Freud and Joseph Breuer published a “Preliminary Communication“. They described a new method of examining and treating patients suffering from hysteria. The first chapter of Studies on Hysteria is entirely dedicated to the “Preliminary Communication” work of Freud and Breuer.

The second chapter of the book presents the major case studies which helped Freud and Breuer discover a new theory regarding hysteria and a new way of treating it. The first case study from this work is the famous Anna O. case.

Anna O. was the pseudonym of a patient of Josef Breuer. Her real name was Bertha Pappenheim. She was a young patient of Dr. Breuer diagnosed with hysteria. Anna O. used for the first time the concept of “talking cure”.

Emmy von N., Miss Lucy R., Katharina, Elisabeth von R. are other famous case studies described by Sigmund Freud in the second chapter of Studies on Hysteria.

In the third chapter Joseph Breuer describes some theoretical aspects such as: hysterical conversion, hypnoid states, and development of hysteria.

The last chapter is dedicated to the psychotherapy of hysteria. Freud explains the way in which the psychotherapeutic method works. According to Sigmund Freud, the psychotherapy “brings to an end the operative force of the idea which was not abreacted in the fast instance, by allowing its strangulated affect to find a way out through speech; and it subjects it to associative correction by introducing it into normal consciousness (under light hypnosis) or by removing it through the physician’s suggestion, as is done in somnambulism accompanied by amnesia.” (Joseph, B., Freud, S. (1895). Studies on Hysteria).

Today, the term of conversion is used to describe hysteria. Conversion disorder is a condition in which a person has various nervous system symptoms that cannot be explained by medical evaluation. In other words, a person may suffer from blindness, inability to speak, numbness or even paralysis, but the physician is unable to find any medical explanation this state.

Studies on Hysteria was and remains one of the major works in psychology. Freud discovered that this type of disorder may be treated by using psychotherapy. Today, many people suffering from hysteria (conversion) are treated through psychotherapy.

Studies on Hysteria – Table of Contents

Chapter I. On The Psychical Mechanism Of Hysterical Phenomena: Preliminary Communication (1893) (Breuer and Freud)

Chapter II. Case Histories

  1. Fraulein Anna O. (Breuer)
  2. Frau Emmy von N. (Freud)
  3. Miss Lucy R. (Freud)
  4. Katharina (Freud)
  5. Fraulein Elisabeth von R. (Freud)

Chapter III. Theoretical (Breuer)

  1. Are All Hysterical Phenomena Ideogenic?
  2. Intracerebral Tonic Excitation Affects
  3. Hysterical Conversion
  4. Hypnoid States
  5. Unconscious Ideas and Ideas Inadmissible to Consciousness Splitting of the Mind
  6. Innate Disposition Development of Hysteria

Chapter IV. The Psychotherapy Of Hysteria (Freud)


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