Case Studies From Sigmund Freud’s Career

The Austrian neurologist had a significant impact on the advancement of psychology and psychoanalysis. Admittedly, his techniques and theories now seem outdated, but his influence in the field is undeniable. He created psychoanalysis, introduced new therapeutic techniques, formulated the Oedipus complex and analysed dreams as outlets into fulfilling our wishes. Since he was a renowned psychoanalyst, he had many patients and fascinating cases. We’ve compiled a list of the most interesting case studies from Sigmund Freud’s career. It’s exciting to read about his approaches and compare them with what we know today. Difficult as it may be to judge his actions, his influence cannot be denied to this day.

5. Ida Bauer (Dora)

Case Studies From Sigmund Freud's Career

Ida suffered from hysteria from an early age. Her mother was obsessed with cleanliness, which led to Ida breaking down and having to receive shock treatment. After turning down a proposition, she started having suicidal thoughts and her state was only getting worse. Freud started to treat her and discovered she was a repressed lesbian. Ida was attracted to his father’s mistress. This made for an uncomfortable relationship between the father and the daughter. When she decided to stop seeing Freud she became as obsessed with cleanliness as her mother and partnered up with her fahter’s mistress to play bridge.

4. Fanny Moser

Case Studies From Sigmund Freud's Career

Fanny had all one could ever want: two children, a happy marriage and financial security. But after her husband died of a heart attack and she was accused by her stepson of killing him, she was dragged from court room to court room in an attempt to clear her name. This left her with a fragile nervous condition. Freud tried to hypnotise her to erase the painful memories such as her husband’s death from her brain . But nothing seemed to help Fanny with her severe depression. She was bewitched by a young lover who extorted millions from her before she died in 1925. In a letter to her daughter, Freud apologised for failing to pinpoint their estrangement.

3. Hilda Doolittle (H.D.)

Case Studies From Sigmund Freud's Career

While travelling to Greece with her baby daughter and a friend, Winifred Ellerman, Hilda had an affair with a man on the ship. She was involved in her friend’s marriage, and when Winifred’s husband left the two women, he was replaced by Robert McAlmon. Ellerman and McAlmon adopted Hilda’s daughter and invited the mother into their partnership. Doolittle visited Freud to help her with writer’s block. They never touched on the subject of sexuality, but she was inspired to write “Tribute to Freud”.

2. Daniel Paul Schreber

Case Studies From Sigmund Freud's Career

During his childhood, Schreber’s father forced him to take cold baths, beat him until he stopped crying and made him wear a device that ensured he stood up straight at all times. His father died when Schreber was 19 and his older brother killed himself some years later. Daniel suffered from speech impediments and hypochondria. He was hospitalized for eight years and wrote a book that Freud found fascinating. From his writings, Freud concluded that the patient still feared his father. Schreber’s belief that he was being transformed into a woman was the direct result of his father’s abuses and continuous tortures.

1. Sergei Pankejeff (Wolf Man)

Case Studies From Sigmund Freud's Career

After losing his sister, father and wife to suicide, Pankejeff begun suffering from depression. Freud started treating him and discovered Sergei had several repressed fantasies that were fueling his anxiety. The interpretation of one of the patient’s dreams in which six white wolves sat in a walnut showed that Pankejeff also feared his father and had witnessed a violent act between his mother and his father when he was only eighteen months old. Pankejeff subsequently found someone else to help him cope with his issues and he became a lawyer.

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