Bertha Pappenheim, better known as Anna O, in the world of psychology, was 21 years old when she first became a patient of Dr. Josef Breuer. She was said to be a gifted girl, with a high intellect. Sadly, however, she had a series of psychological and physical disturbances that rendered her almost incapable of functioning. “She suffered from a rigid paralysis, accompanied by loss of sensation, of both extremities on the right side of her body; and the same trouble from time to time affected her on her left side.
Her eye movements were disturbed and her power of vision was subject to numerous restrictions.” (freudfile. org) In addition to these problems she also suffered confusion, delirium and alteration of her personality. (This was described as “absence” at the time) She had head posture problems, and was unable to speak or understand her native language at times. Throughout her treatment with Dr. Breuer, these and other additional conditions would surface. It was during her treatment that Sigmund Freud showed an interest in her case.
Breuer was an associate of Freud and had trained under him. Breuer had disagreements with some of Freud’s theories and set out to start his own practice.
It was this case that inspired the “psychoanalytic cure”, which was the start of the widely used psychoanalytic methods used today. At the onset of Anna’s case, Dr. Breuer seemed at a lost with how to treat her. However, as Anna’s treatment progressed, he gained insight when he observed that, “while the patient was in her states of ‘absence (altered personality accompanied by confusion), she was in the habit of muttering a few words to herself which seemed as though they arose from some train of thought that was occupying her mind.
” (freudfile. org) 2 Once Dr. Breuer gained this insight, he engaged in a type of hypnosis. Utilizing these words, he enabled her to focus on them as a starting point. By doing this, Anna was able to reproduce the mental thoughts that were occupying her mind when in one of her altered states. As stated above, Sigmund Freud developed an interest in the Anna O case. His fascination with this case led to his publishing Studies in hysteria. It was this publication which establishes Freud as the “father of psychoanalysis”.
At this time, Freud constructs his theory that when the mind is fearful and overly emotional (hysterical), a person may develop disease symptoms. He goes on to explain the techniques of “free association and dream interpretation”, which, in turn, becomes the core of psychoanalysis. Once this was done, he was able to establish psychoanalysis as a legitimate clinical science. Freud went on the publish Theory on Dreams; The Conscious and Unconscious Mind; The Id, Ego, and Superego; Psychosexual Development, and other theories. Freud first published Theory on Dreams in 1899.
During the first 6 years after its publication, the book sold only 351 copies. In fact, it took 2 decades before Freud received his fame. A paragraph from the PBS movie Young Dr. Freud summarizes Freud Theory on Dreams. “He uses dreams and dreaming to develop and weave an entire theory of mental functioning, perception, memory, and wishes. That, I believe, is the reason and the foundation for why it’s viewed as a landmark. In the dream book the Oedipus complex is stated, the role of infantile sexuality is recognized. That dreams have meaning is recognized.
The patient is asked 3 to free associate. Once you have the dream book you can start business as psychoanalysts because you know – at least you have a hunch of how to do it”. (Young Dr. Freud, 2002) Throughout Freud’s life, many aspiring psychologists were associated with him. In 1906, Carl Jung begins letter correspondence with Sigmund Freud. In 1907, Jung visits Freud in Vienna and writes The Psychology of Dementia Praecox . Jung resigns from working at the Burgholzli Mental Hospital in Zurich, and visits the USA with Freud.
In 1909, he also opens his own private practice of psychoanalysis and continues it until his death in 1967, at the age of 85. During Jung’s early association with Freud, he was a tireless fighter for the Freudian cause, that is, the universal promotion of psychoanalysis. He was swayed by Freud’s methodology with the elusive problem of dream interpretation. However, in 1912 he announces his independence of Freud and goes on to publish Neue Bahnen der Psychologie. This independence seems to be a long time in the making.
Jung was slowly disagreeing with Freud’s theories, cumulating with his reluctance towards Freud’s theory on the role of sexuality in the psychic development. By 1914 Jung had resigned from all positions he had held. At this time he seems to have gone through his own personal turmoil, and it was reported he was suffering from moods verging on “near schizophrenia” (carl-jung. net) There has been a great deal of documentation showing that Jung had an affair with a former patient, named Spielrein, during these years. Perhaps adding to his break with Freud and his sexual theories.
Jung felt that Freud’s theories were too extensive, summing up with this quote,“ The great problems of life — sexuality, of course, among others — are always related to the primordial images of the collective unconscious. ” 4 As great as the differences were regarding sexuality, a greater one was forming, their views on the unconscious. To Freud, the unconscious encompasses repressed or forgotten thoughts, while lingering within the individual psyche. The unconscious is like a repository for forgotten things of a person’s past.
It is absolutely personal and belongs to that individual person alone. Jung, on the other hand, maintained there is a personal unconscious, but it rests on a collective unconscious. He felt that the collective unconscious does not derive from the personal unconscious, but it is formed from something that is “universal in nature. ” Jung believed that this collective unconscious is the same in all individuals. Therefore, while Freud believed that everything comes down to a person’s past: family, relationships and repressed sexual wants and confusions.
Jung maintained it was the collective unconscious which was “the great sea” in which everything else in the psyche came from and took shape. When analyzing the case of Anna O, Freud and Jung would have had disagreements. Freud felt the Anna O’s problems most likely stemmed from sexual abuse as a child. In fact, it was his view that eventually led to the rift between him and Dr. Breuer. Freud was also of the mind that this abuse rested completely in the personal unconscious. Jung would not have placed a great importance on a possible sexual abuse.
Instead, he would have viewed Anna O through his collective unconscious theory. Jung may have gone so far as equating Anna’s paralyzes, and her dream of the snakes as corroboration to this theory. Siting the universal fears humans have of snakes, going back to the first book of the Bible. 5 To me, Freud would have approached Anna O with many questions concerning her childhood and possible sexual abuse. He would have been determined to find the link between her problems and abuse. Jung, on the other hand, may have placed his attention on making Anna aware of the common fears humans have, and why.
While they both may have attempted a form of hypnosis, I do not think they would have succeeded, as Dr. Breuer did. In fact, It is my opinion Anna O was very lucky to have Dr. Breuer treating her and not Freud or Jung. 6
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