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p. 172. From trauma to phantasylocked

  • Anthony Storr


‘From trauma to phantasy’ charts Freud's development of the notion of repression. While training as a doctor in Paris, Freud learnt from Charcot that unconscious ideas could bring about hysteria. Further work with Joseph Breuer suggested that reliving the emotional source of the hysteria would cure it. They found that these emotions were often shameful or frightening, so had been repressed by the brain. Freud discovered that the repressed memories always stemmed from childhood sexual experiences. Freud found it hard to believe that so many children had been sexually abused, so he abandoned his seduction theory, instead saying that sexual phantasies were the root cause of neuroses.

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