Freud’s Legacy

November 5, 2012 · Posted in History of Psychiatry · Comments Off on Freud’s Legacy 

Sigmund Freud by Max Halberstadt, 1921

Freud brought into our awareness and is recognized for such concepts as the “id,” “ego”, “superego” and “Oedipus complex.” But what has survived in modern psychoanalytic practice, amidst a prevailing environment in psychiatry today of the biological and pharmacological, is the power of the unconscious mind and our past as it affects our current life and issues.

The American Psychoanalytic Association  (APsaA), which was founded in the year 1911, is still in existence today. They stress the psychoanalytic framework as consisting of individual uniqueness, unconscious factors influencing one’s behavior, the past’s relevance to the present and that the process of human development is ongoing throughout life; all consistent with Freudian views.

Freud is also with us today thanks to The Karpeles Manuscript Museum exhibit, which will run through mid-December, showcasing Freud’s theories, through his writings and correspondence, with an emphasis on his theory of psychoanalysis.

Sources: Elizabeth Landau, CNN , American Psychoanalytic Association , Karpeles exhibit focuses on Freud

The History of the Psychoanalytic Movement

November 5, 2012 · Posted in History of Psychiatry · Comments Off on The History of the Psychoanalytic Movement 

Chapter I

by Sigmund Freud, translated by A. A. Brill I

I Sigmund Freud A. A. Brill

If in what follows I bring any contribution to the history of the psychoanalytic movement nobody must be surprised at the subjective nature of this paper, nor at the rôle which falls to me therein. For psychoanalysis is my creation; for ten years I was the only one occupied with it, and all the annoyance which this new subject caused among my contemporaries has been hurled upon my head in the form of criticism. Even today, when I am no longer the only psychoanalyst, I feel myself justified in assuming that none can know better than myself what psychoanalysis is, wherein it differs from other methods of investigating the psychic life, what its name should cover, or what might better be designated as some thing else.

In the year 1909, when I was first privileged to speak publicly on psychoanalysis in an American University, fired by this momentous occasion for my endeavors, I declared that it was not myself who brought psychoanalysis into existence. I said that it was Josef Breuer, who had merited this honor at a time when I was a student and busy working for my examinations (1880-1882).[1] Since then, well-intentioned friends have frequently repeated that I then expressed my gratitude out of all due proportion. They considered that, as on previous occasions, I should have dignified Breuers “cathartic procedure” as merely preliminary to psychoanalysis, and should have claimed that psychoanalysis itself only began with my rejection of the hypnotic technique and my introduction of free association. Now it is really a matter of indifference whether the history of psychoanalysis be considered to have started with the cathartic method or only with my modification of  the same. I only enter into this uninteresting question because some opponents of psychoanalysis are wont to recall, now and then, that the art of psychoanalysis did not originate with me at all, but with Breuer. Naturally, this only happens to be the case when their attitude permits them to find in psychoanalysis something that is noteworthy; on the other hand when their repudiation of psychoanalysis is unlimited, then psychoanalysis is always indisputably my creation. I have never yet heard that Breuers great part in psychoanalysis has brought him an equal measure of insult and reproach. As I have recognized long since that it is the inevitable fate of psychoanalysis to arouse opposition and to embitter people, I have come to the conclusion that I must surely be the originator of all that characterizes psychoanalysis. I add, with satisfaction, that none of the attempts to belittle my share in this much disdained psychoanalysis has ever come from Breuer himself, or could boast of his support.

The content of Breuers discovery has been so often presented that a detailed discussion of it here may be omitted. Its fundamental fact is that the symptoms of hysterical patients depend upon impressive but forgotten scenes in their lives (traumata). The therapy founded thereon was to cause the patients to recall and reproduce these experiences under hypnosis (catharsis), and the fragmentary theory, deduced from it was that these symptoms cor responded to an abnormal use of undischarged sums of excitement (conversion). In his theoretical contribution to the “Studies of Hysteria” Breuer, wherever obliged to mention conversion, has always added my name in parenthesis, as though this first attempt at a theoretical formulation was my mental property. I think this allotment refers only to the nomenclature, whilst the conception itself occurred to us both at the same time.

It is also well known that Breuer, after his first experience with it, allowed the cathartic treatment to rest for a number of years and only resumed it after I caused him to do so, on my return from Charcot. He was then an internist and taken up with a rather busy medical practice. I had become a physician quite reluctantly but had, at that time, received a strong motive for desiring to help nervous patients or, at least, to learn to understand something of their conditions. I had placed reliance on physical therapy and found myself helpless in the face of disappointments that came to me with W. Erbs “Electrotherapy,” so rich in advice and indications. If I did not, at that time, pilot myself independently to the opinion later announced by Moebius, that the successes of electrotherapy in nervous disorders are the results of suggestion, it was surely only the absence of these successes that was to blame. The treatment by suggestion in deep hypnosis seemed to offer me at that time sufficient compensation for the lost electrical therapy. I learned this treatment through the extremely impressive demonstrations of Liébault and Bernheim. But the investigation under hypnosis with which I became acquainted through Breuer, I found, owing to its automatic manner of working and the simultaneous gratification of ones eagerness for knowledge, much more attractive than the monotonous and violent suggestive command which was devoid of every possibility of inquiry.

As one of the latest achievements of psychoanalysis, we have lately been admonished to put the actual conflict and the cause of the illness into the foreground of analysis. This is exactly what Breuer and I did in the beginning of our work with the cathartic method. We guided the patients attention directly to the traumatic scene during which the symptom had arisen, tried to find therein the psychic conflict and to free the repressed affect. We thus discovered the procedure characteristic of the psychic processes of the neuroses which I later named regression. The associations of the patients went back from the scene to be explained, to earlier experiences, and this forced the analysis which was to correct the present to occupy itself with the past. This regression led even further backwards. At first it went quite regularly to the time of puberty. Later, however, such failures as gaps in the understanding tempted the analytic work further back into the years of childhood which had, hitherto, been inaccessible to every sort of investigation. This regressive direction became an important characteristic of the analysis. It was proved that psychoanalysis could not clear up anything actual, except by going back to something in the past. It even proved that every pathological experience presupposes an earlier one which, though not in itself pathological, lent a pathological quality to the later occurrence. But the temptation to stop short at the known actual cause was so great that even in later analyses I yielded to it. In the case of the patient called “Dora,” carried out in 1899, the scene which caused the outbreak of the actual illness was known to me. I tried uncounted times to analyse this experience, but all that I could receive to my direct demands was the same scanty and broken description. Only after a long detour, which led through the earliest childhood of the patient, a dream appeared in the analysis of which the hitherto forgotten details of the scene were remembered, and this made possible the understanding and solution of the actual conflict.

From this one example it may be seen how misleading is the above mentioned admonition and how much of a scientific regression it is to follow the advice of neglecting the regression in the analytic technique.

The first difference of opinion between Breuer and myself came to light on a question of the more intimate psychic mechanism of hysteria. He still favored a physiological theory, so to speak, arid wished to explain the psychic splitting of consciousness of hysterical subjects by means of the non-communication of various psychic states (or states of consciousness, as we then called them). He thus created the theory of the “hypnoid states” the results of which were supposed to bring the unassimilated foreign body into the “waking consciousness.” I had formulated this to myself less scientifically. I suspected everywhere tendencies and strivings analogous to those of everyday life and conceived the psychic splitting itself as a result of a repelling process, which I then called “defense” and later “regression”. I made a short-lived attempt to reconcile both mechanisms, but as experience showed me always the same and only one thing, my defense theory, I soon became opposed to Breuers theory of hypnoid states.

I am, however, quite certain that this difference of opinion had nothing to do with the parting of the ways which occurred soon afterward between us. The latter had a deeper reason, but it happened in such a manner that at first I did not understand it, and only later did I learn to interpret it, following many good indexes. It will be recalled that Breuer had stated, concerning his first famous patient, that the sexual element had been astonishingly undeveloped in her and had never contributed anything to her very marked morbid picture.[2] I have always wondered why the critics of my theory of the sexual etiology of the neuroses have not often opposed it with this assertion of Breuer, and up to this day I do not know whether in this reticence I am to see a proof of their discretion, or of their lack of observation. Whoever will reread the history of Breuers patient in the light of the experience gained in the last twenty years, will have no difficulty in understanding the symbolism of the snakes and of the arm. By taking into account also the situation at the sick-bed of the father, he will easily guess the actual meaning of that symptom-formation. His opinion as to the part sexuality played in the psychic life of that girl will then differ greatly from that of her physician. To cure the patient Breuer utilized the most intensive suggestive rapport which may serve us as prototype of that which we call “transference.” Now I have strong grounds to suppose that Breuer, after the disposal of the symptoms, must have discovered the sexual motivity of this transference by new signs, but that the general nature of this unexpected phenomenon escaped him, so that here, as though hit by “an untoward event,” he broke off the investigation. I did not obtain from him any direct information of this, but at different times he has given me sufficient connecting links to justify me in making this combination. And then, as I stood more and more decidedly for the significance of sexuality in the causation of the neuroses, Breuer was the first to show me those reactions of unwilling rejection, with which it was my lot to become so familiar later on, but which I had then not yet recognized as my unavoidable destiny. The fact that a grossly sexual, tender or inimical, transference occurs in every treatment of a neurosis, although this was neither desired nor induced by either party, has, for me, always seemed to be the most unshakable proof that the forces of the neuroses originate in the sexual life. This argument has surely not been seriously enough considered, for if it were, there would be no question as to where the investigation would tend. For my own conviction, it has remained decisive over and above the special results of the work of the analysis.

Some comfort for the bad reception which my theory of the sexual etiology of the neuroses met with, even in the closer circle of my friends—a negative space was soon formed about my person—I found in the thought that I had taken up the fight for a new and original idea. One day, however, my memories grouped themselves in such a way that this satisfaction was disturbed, but in return I obtained an excellent insight into the origin of our activities and into the nature of our knowledge. The idea for which I was held responsible had not at all originated with me. It had come to me from three persons, whose opinions could count upon my deepest respect; from Breuer himself, from Charcot, and from Chrobak, the gynecologist of our university, probably the most prominent of our Vienna physicians. All three men had imparted to me an insight which, strictly speaking, they had not themselves possessed. Two of them denied their communication to me when later I reminded them of this: the third (Master Charcot) might also have done so, had it been granted me to see him again. But these identical communications, received without my grasping them, had lain dormant within me, until one day they awoke as an apparently original discovery.

One day, while I was a young hospital doctor, I was accompanying Breuer on a walk through the town when a man came up to him urgently desiring to speak with him. I fell back and, when Breuer was free again, he told me, in his kindly, teacher-like manner, that this was the husband of a patient, who had brought him some news about her. The wife, he added, behaved in so conspicuous a manner when in company, that she had been turned over to him for treatment as a nervous case. He ended with the remark—”those are always secrets of the alcove.” Astonished, I asked his meaning and he explained the expression to me (“secrets of the conjugal bed”), without realizing how preposterous the matter appeared to me.

A few years later, at one of Charcot’s evening receptions, I found myself near the venerated teacher who was just relating to Brouardel a very interesting history from the day’s practice. I did not hear the beginning clearly but gradually the story obtained my attention. It was the case of a young married couple from the far East. The wife was a great sufferer and the husband was impotent, or exceedingly awkward. I heard Charcot repeat: ” Tâchez done, je vous assure vous y arriverez.” Brouardel, who spoke less distinctly, must have expressed his astonishment that symptoms as those of the young wife should have appeared as a result of such circumstances, for Charcot said suddenly and with great vivacity: “Mais, dans des cas pareils c’est toujours la chose génital, toujours—toujours—toujours.” And while saying that he crossed his hands in his lap and jumped up and down several times, with the vivacity peculiar to him. I know that for a moment I was almost paralyzed with astonishment, and I said to myself: “Yes, but if he knows this why does he never say so?” But the impression was soon forgotten; brain-anatomy and the experimental production of hysterical paralysis absorbed all my interests.

A year later when I had begun my medical activities in Vienna as a private dozent in nervous diseases I was as innocent and ignorant in all that concerned the etiology of the neuroses as any promising academician could be expected to be. One day I received a friendly call from Chrobak, who asked me to take a patient to whom he could not give sufficient time in his new capacity as lecturer at the university. I reached the patient before he did and learned that she suffered from senseless attacks of anxiety, which could only be alleviated by the most exact information as to the whereabouts of her physician at any time in the day. When Chrobak appeared, he took me aside and disclosed to me that the patient’s anxiety was due to the fact that though she had been married eighteen years, she was still a virgo intacta, that her husband was utterly impotent. In such cases the physician can only cover the domestic mishap with his reputation and must bear it if people shrug their shoulders and say of him: “He is not a good doctor if in all these years, he has not been able to cure her.” He added: “The only prescription for such troubles is the one well-known to us, but which we cannot prescribe. It is:

Penis normalis dosim Repetatur!

I had never heard of such a prescription and would like to have shaken my head at my informant’s cynicism.

I certainly have not uncovered the illustrious origins of this vicious idea because I would like to shove the responsibility for it on others. I know well that it is one thing to express an idea once or several times in the form of a rapid aperçu, and quite another to take it seriously and literally to lead it through all opposing details and conquer for it a place among accepted truths. It is the difference between a light flirtation and a righteous marriage with all its duties and difficulties. Epouser les ideés de—(to marry so and so’s ideas,) is, at least in French, a quite usual form of speech.

Other doctrines which were contributed to the cathartic method through my efforts thus transforming it into psychoanalysis, are the following: The theories of repression and resistance, the addition of the infantile sexuality, and the usage and interpretation of dreams for the understanding of the unconscious.

Concerning the theory of repression, I was certain that I worked independently. I knew of no influence that directed me in any way to it, and I long considered this idea to be original, till O. Rank showed us the place in Schopenhauer’s “The World as Will and Idea,” where the philosopher is struggling for an explanation for  sanity.[3] What is there said concerning the striving against the acceptance of a painful piece of reality agrees so completely with the content of my theory of repression that, once again, I must be indebted to my not being well-read for the possibility of making a discovery. To be sure, others have read this passage and overlooked it, without making this discovery and perhaps the same would have happened to me, if, in former years, I had taken more pleasure in reading philosophical authors. In later years I denied myself the great pleasure of Nietzsche’s works, with the conscious motive of not wishing to be hindered in the working out of my psychoanalytic impressions by any preconceived ideas. Therefore, I had to be prepared—and am so gladly—to renounce all claim to priority in those many cases in which the laborious psychoanalytic investigation can only confirm the insights intuitively won by the philosophers.

The theory of repression is the main pillar upon which rests the edifice of psychoanalysis. It is really the most essential part of it, and is itself nothing other than the theoretical expression of an experience which can be repeated at pleasure whenever one analyzes a neurotic patient without the aid of hypnosis. One is then confronted with a resistance which opposes the analytic work by causing a failure of memory in order to block it. This resistance had to be covered by the use of hypnosis; hence the history of psychoanalysis proper only starts technically with the rejection of hypnosis. The theoretical value of the fact that this resistance is connected with an amnesia leads unavoidably to that conception of the unconscious psychic activities which is peculiar to psychoanalysis, and distinguishes it markedly from the philosophical speculations about the unconscious. It may, therefore, be said that the psychoanalytic theory endeavors to explain two experiences, which result in a striking and unexpected manner during the attempt to trace back the morbid symptoms of a neurotic to their source in his life-history; viz., the facts of transference and of resistance. Every investigation which recognizes these two facts and makes them the starting points of its work may call itself psychoanalysis, even if it lead to other results than my own. But whoever takes up other sides of the problem and deviates from these two assumptions will hardly escape the charge of interfering with the rights of ownership through attempted imitation, if he insist upon calling himself a psychoanalyst.

I would very energetically oppose any attempt to count the principles of repression and resistance as mere assumptions instead of results of psychoanalysis. Such assumptions of a general psychological and biological nature exist, and it would be quite to the point to deal with them in another place. The principle of repression, however, is an acquisition of the psychoanalytic work, won by legitimate means, as a theoretical extract from very numerous experiences. Just such an acquisition, but of much later days, is the theory of the infantile sexuality, of which no count was taken during the first years of tentative analytic investigation. At first it was only noticed that the effect of actual impressions had to be traced back to the past. However, “the seeker often found more than he bargained for.” He was tempted always further back into this past and finally hoped to be permitted to tarry in the period of puberty, the epoch of the traditional awakening of the sexual impulses. His hopes were in vain. The tracks led still further back into childhood and into its earliest years. In the process of this work it became almost fatal for this young science. Under the influence of the traumatic theory of hysteria, following Charcot, one was easily inclined to regard as real and as of etiological importance the accounts of patients who traced back their symptoms to passive sexual occurrences in the first years of childhood, that is to say, speaking plainly, to seductions. When this etiology broke down through its own unlikelihood, and through the contradiction of well-established circumstances, there followed a period of absolute helplessness. The analysis had led by the correct path to such infantile sexual traumas, and yet these were not true. Thus the basis of reality had been lost. At that time I would gladly have let the whole thing slide, as did my respected forerunner Breuer, when he made his unwished-for discovery. Perhaps I persevered only because I had no longer any choice of beginning something else. Finally I reflected that, after all, no one has a right to despair if he has been disappointed only in his expectations. He merely needs to review them. If hysterics refer their symptoms to imaginary traumas, then this new fact signifies that they create such scenes in their phantasies, and hence psychic reality deserves to be given a place next to actual reality. This was soon followed by the conviction that these phantasies serve to hide the autoerotic activities of the early years of childhood, to idealize them and place them on a higher level, and now the whole sexual life of the child made its appearance behind these phantasies.

In this sexual activity of the first years of childhood, the concomitant constitution could finally attain its rights. Disposition and experience here became associated into an inseparable etiological unity, in that the disposition raised certain impressions to inciting and fixed traumas, which otherwise would have remained altogether banal and ineffectual, whilst the experiences evoked factors from the disposition which, without them, would have continued to remain dormant, and, perhaps, undeveloped. The last word in the question of traumatic etiology was later on said by Abraham, when he drew attention to the fact that just the peculiar nature of the childs sexual constitution enables it to provoke sexual experiences of a peculiar kind, that is to say, traumas.

My formulations concerning the sexuality of the child were founded at first almost exclusively on the results of the analyses of adults, which led back into the past. I was lacking in opportunity for direct observation of the child. It was, therefore, an extraordinary triumph when, years later, my discoveries were successfully confirmed for the greater part by direct observation and analyses of children of very early years, a triumph that appeared less and less on reflecting that the discovery was of such a nature that one really ought to be ashamed of having made it. The deeper one penetrated into the observation of the child, the more self-evident this fact seemed, and the more strange, too, became the circumstances that such pains had been taken to overlook it.

To be sure, so certain a conviction of the existence and  significance of the infantile sexuality can be obtained only, if one follows the path of analysis, if one goes back from the symptoms and peculiarities of neurotics to their uttermost sources, the discovery of which explains what is explainable in them, and permits of modifying what can be changed. I understand that one can arrive at different conclusions if, as was recently done by C. G. Jung, one first forms for one’s self a theoretical conception of the nature of the sexual impulse and thereby tries to understand the life of the child. Such a conception can only be chosen arbitrarily or with regard to secondary considerations, and is in danger of becoming inadequate to the sphere in which it was to be utilized. Doubtless, the analytic way also leads to certain final difficulties and obscurities in regard to sexuality and its relation to the whole life of the individual; but these cannot be set aside by speculations, and must wait till solutions will be found by means of other observations or of observations in other spheres.

I shall briefly discuss the history of dream-interpretation. This came to me as the first-fruits af the technical innovation, after, following a dim presentiment, I had decided to replace hypnosis with free associations. It was not the understanding of dreams towards which my curiosity was originally directed. I do not know of any influences which had guided my interest to this or inspired me with any helpful expectations. Before the cessation of my intercourse with Breuer I hardly had time to tell him, in so many words, that I now knew how to translate dreams. During the development of these discoveries the symbolism of the language of dreams was about the last thing which became known to me, since, for the understanding of symbols, the associations of the dreamer offer but little help. As I have held fast to the habit of first studying things themselves, before looking them up in books, I was able to ascertain for myself the symbolism of dreams before I was directed to it by the work of Sherner. Only later I came to value fully this means of expression of dreams. This was partly due to the influence of the works of Steckel, who was at first very meritorious but who later became most perfunctory. The close connection between the  analytic interpretation of dreams and the once so highly esteemed art of dream interpretation of the ancients only became clear to me many years afterwards. The most characteristic and significant portion of my dream theory, namely, the reduction of the dream distortion to an inner conflict, to a sort of inner dishonesty, I found later in an author to whom medicine but not philosophy is unknown. I refer to the engineer J. Popper, who had published “Phantasies of a Realist” under the name of Lynkeus.

The interpretation of dreams became for me a solace and support in those difficult first years of analysis, when I had to master at the same time the technique, the clinic and the therapy of the neuroses, when I stood entirely alone, and in the confusion of problems and the accumulation of difficulties I often feared to lose my orientation and my confidence. It often took a long time before the proof of my assumption, that a neurosis must become comprehensible through analysis, was seen by the perplexed patient, but the dreams, which might be regarded as analogous to the symptoms, almost regularly confirmed this assumption.

Only because of these successes was I in condition to persevere. I have, therefore, acquired the habit of measuring the grasp of a psychological worker by his attitude to the problem of dream interpretation, and I have noticed, with satisfaction, that most of the opponents of psychoanalysis avoided this field altogether, or if they ventured into it, they behaved most awkwardly. The analysis of myself, the need of which soon became apparent to me, I carried out by the aid of a series of my own dreams which led me through all the happenings of my childhood years. Even today I am of the opinion that in the case of a prolific dreamer and a person not too abnormal, this sort of analysis may be sufficient.

By unfurling this developmental history, I believe I have shown what psychoanalysis is, better than I could have done by a systematic presentation of the subject. The special nature of my findings I did not then recognize. I sacrificed, unhesitatingly, my budding popularity as a physician and an extensive practice among nervous patients, because I searched directly for the sexual origin of their neuroses. In this way I gained a number of experiences which definitely confirmed my conviction of the practical significance of the sexual factor. Without any apprehension, I appeared as speaker at the Vienna Neurological Society, then under the presidency of Krafft-Ebing, expecting to be compensated, by the interest and recognition of my colleagues, for my own voluntary sacrifices. I treated my discoveries as indifferent contributions to science and hoped that others would treat them in the same way. Only the silence that followed my lectures, the space that formed about my person, and the insinuations directed towards me caused me to realize, gradually, that statements about the part played by sexuality in the etiology of the neuroses cannot hope to be treated like other communications. I realized that from then on I would belong to those who, according to Hebbel’s expression, “have disturbed the world’s sleep,” and that I could not count upon being treated objectively and with toleration. But as my conviction of the average correctness of my observations and the conclusions grew greater and greater, and as my faith in my own judgment was not small, any more than was my moral courage, there could be no doubt as to the issue of this situation. I decided to believe that it fell to my lot to discover particularly significant associations, and felt prepared to bear the fate which sometimes accompanies such discoveries.

This fate I pictured to myself in the following manner. I would probably succeed in sustaining myself through the therapeutic successes of the new treatment, but science would take no notice of me in my lifetime. Some decades later, another would surely stumble upon the same, now untimely things, compel their recognition and thus bring me to honor as a necessarily unfortunate forerunner. Meantime I arrayed myself as comfortably as possible à la Robinson Crusoe upon my lonely island. When I look back to those lonely years, from the perplexities and vexatiousness of the present, it seems to me it was a beautiful and heroic time. The “splendid isolation” did not lack its privileges and charms. I did not need to read any literature nor to listen to badly informed opponents. I was subject to no influences, and no pressure was brought to bear on me. I learned to restrain speculative tendencies and, following the unforgotten advice of my master, Charcot, I looked at the same things again and often until they began of themselves to tell me something. My publications, for which I found shelter despite some difficulty, could safely remain far behind my state of knowledge. They could be delayed as long as I pleased, as there was no doubtful “priority” to be defended. “The Interpretation of Dreams,” for example, was completed in all essentials in the beginning of 1896, but was written down only in 1899. The treatment of “Dora” was finished at the end of 1899. The history of her illness was completed in the next two weeks, but was only published in 1905. Meantime my writings were not in the reviewed professional literature of the day. If an exception was made they were always treated with scornful or pitying condescension. Sometimes a colleague would refer to me in one of his publications in very short and unflattering terms, such as “unbalanced,” “extreme,” or “very odd.” It happened once that an assistant at the clinic in Vienna asked me for permission to attend one of my lecture courses. He listened devoutly and said nothing, but after the last lecture he offered to accompany me. During this walk he disclosed to me that, with the knowledge of his chief, he had written a book against my teachings, but he expressed much regret that he had only come to know these teachings better through my lectures. Had he known these before, he would have written very differently. Indeed, he had inquired at the clinic if he had not better first read “The Interpretation of Dreams,” but had been advised against doing so, as it was not worth the trouble. As he now understood it, he compared my system of instruction with the Catholic Church. In the interests of his souls salvation I will assume that this remark contained a bit of sincere recognition. But he ended by saying that it was too late to alter anything in his book as it was already printed. This particular colleague did not consider it necessary later on to tell the world something of the change in his opinions concerning my psychoanalysis. On the contrary, as permanent reviewer of a medical journal, he showed a preference to follow its development with his hardly serious comments.

Whatever I possessed of personal sensitiveness was blunted in those years, to my advantage. But I was saved from becoming embittered by a circumstance that does not come to the assistance of all lonely discoverers. Such a one usually frets himself to find out the cause of the lack of sympathy or of the rejection he receives from his contemporaries, and perceives them as a painful contradiction against the certainty of his own conviction. That did not trouble me, for the psychoanalytic fundamental principles enabled me to understand this attitude of my environment as a necessary sequence. If it was true that the associations discovered by me were kept from the knowledge of the patient by inner affective resistances, then this resistance must manifest itself also in normal persons as soon as the repressed material is conveyed to them from the outside. It was not strange that these latter knew how to give intellectual reasons for their affective rejections of my ideas. This happened just as often with the patients, and the arguments advanced—arguments are as common as blackberries, to borrow from Falstaff’s speech—were the same and not exactly brilliant. The only difference was that in the case of patients one had the means of bringing pressure to bear, in order to help them recognize and overcome their resistances, but in the case of those seemingly normal, such help had to be omitted. To force these normal people to a cool and scientifically objective examination of the subject was an unsolved problem, the solution of which was best left to time. In the history of science it has often been possible to verify that the very assertion which, at first, called forth only opposition, received recognition a little later without the necessity of bringing forward any new proofs.

That I have not developed any particular respect for the opinion of the world or any desire for intellectual deference during those years, when I alone represented psychoanalysis, will surprise no one.

  1. ↑ “On Psychoanalysis.” Five lectures given on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of Clark University, Worcester, Mass., dedicated to Stanley Hall. Second edition, 1912. Published simultaneously in English in the American Journal of Psychology, March, 1910; translated into Dutch, Hungarian, Polish and Russian.
  2. ↑ Breuer and Freud, “Studien über Hysterie,” p. 15, Deuticke, 1895.
  3. ↑ Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse, 1911, Vol. I, p. 69.