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Early and late Freud

 

Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Articles > Early and late Freud

Early Freud | Later Freud | See also

 

Freud went through two main phases of thought.

Early Freud

In his early work of the 1880s, he had many patients with hysterical symptoms such as fits obsessions who reported early sexual traumas that ranged from unpleasant to shocking. From this, he theorized that later trauma was caused by re-awakening of those early experiences and that hysterical symptoms were displaced sexual desires. Psychoanalysis included catharsis, whereby regression to the event to allow the repressed energy to be released.

Later Freud

By the late 1890s, he concluded that many of these reported experiences had not actually happened and were actually memories that were based in early phantasy. Like False Memory Syndrome, what is genuinely experienced as a memory is actually a construction. He called the mix of perception and emotion 'psychical reality'.

He also discovered transference where the patient replaces an earlier loved person with the analyst. Refusal to reciprocate becomes a part of the treatment.

 

The two Freudian phases are summarized in this table:

 

  Early Freud Later Freud
Model Mechanical, neurophysiological unconscious fantasy
Repression Memories Phantasies and conflicts
Emphasis External events Translation of events into inner world
Technique Catharsis Free association
Understanding Of presenting symptoms Of transference

 

See also

Freud, Transference

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