Hysteria Case Study

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All humans experience physical pain. For some people, however, their physical pain is not the result of a physical issue but a psychological one, at least according to Sigmund Freud’s Studies on Hysteria. On a surface level, one might conclude that this book is just a pseudoscientist rambling about the relationship between a hysteric’s thoughts and physical experiences. Although scientific support of Freud’s methods may be lacking, a careful reading reveals that Freud is concerned with bridging the divides between associations and experiences to relieve patients of physical pain and, more importantly, to better understand themselves. Studies on Hysteria details his process of bridging these gaps. To solve any problem, one must understand the source of the problem. In the case of hysteria, the problem is that traumatic events have not been sufficiently…show more content…
As one can gather from the example of Elisabeth Von R., one reason psychoanalysis is complex is that each case is unique to the individual, so there is not a step-by-step procedure that works for everyone. Even though Freud consistently uses his general strategy of peeling away layers of consciousness, his method of removing those layers varies case to case. For example, hypnosis does not work on Von R., but pressing her head does. Another source of complexity is that sometimes a hysterical symptom does not show up right after the traumatic event but when the patient has a memory of the trauma (169), which can make it difficult to pinpoint the cause of hysteria, as was the case with Von R. The first time she faced conflict between her own enjoyment and her father’s, she experienced no pain. One last challenging aspect of psychoanalysis is that most often hysterics suffer from not just a single trauma but multiple similar ones (173). Again, with Von R., her hysteria was the result of repeated traumas related to the same situations (her father and
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