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Freud: Hypnotism and His Philosophy of Psychiatry

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What importance did Freud's interest in hypnotism have for his later theories?

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1. What importance did Freud's interest in hypnotism have for his later theories?
Initially, it peaked his interest in the unconscious, but it also lead to his later theories - many of his theoretical constructs originated from the clients' (usually women who many of them had been sexually abused as children) therapy sessions, while under hypnosis. Thus, the later focus of sexuality and sexual ideas in most (if not all) his later theories.

Like many doctors, writers, and philosophers working at the end of the nineteenth century, Freud grew increasingly interested in the unconscious. He took the unconscious to be a dimension of human life at once inaccessible and important as a source of thoughts and actions. In his efforts to decipher the meanings of hysterical symptoms and other neglected mental phenomena that seemed beyond conscious control (such as dreams and slips of the tongue), Freud moved further away from his neurological training. Committed to the idea that apparently meaningless behaviors actually expressed unconscious conflict, he developed techniques for determining what the behaviors might mean. This section -- divided into six parts -- introduces us to some of Freud's most famous patients and the key concepts with which he tried to make sense of their symptoms and their lives (Excerpted from http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/freud/freud02.html).

Much of his earlier work with hypnosis is reflected in his later theories (e.g., Anna O to free association, hypnotic suggestion to transference, hypnotic sexual fantasies to seduction theory, psychosexual theories of development are rooted in the ideas learned from women who were initially under hypnosis, Oedipus complex, etc.).
Let's look at some examples of these ideas to expand on these ideas:

Example: (Excerpts)

Anna O -- Hypnosis to Free Association

Freud's interest in what lay beyond conscious life and in hypnotism and hysteria led him to study with the famous neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot of the Salpêtrière ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the importance of Freud's interest in hypnotism on his later theories. References are provided.

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