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Young Dr. Freud
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Analysis: Fears
Alpine forest near Vienna
Alpine forest near Vienna
(David Grubin Productions)
 
Freud's work consumed him. Even during his summer vacations to the nearby Alps, he never stopped trying to unravel the mystery of hysteria, which had by now become his obsession. Even in the tranquility of an alpine summer, he could not ignore his work.

FREUD: "I was sitting deep in contemplation of the charm of the distant prospectů so lost in thought that at first I did not connect it with myself when these words reached my ears: "Are you a doctor, sirů You wrote your name in the Visitor's Book [in the inn]. The truth is, sir, my nerves are bad."

Freud looked up and saw an 18-year-old girl asking for help.

 
Freud looked up and saw an 18-year-old girl asking for help. When he wrote about her later, he called her Katharina. When she recounted her ailments - shortness of breath, dizziness, a crushing feeling in her chest, a choking in her throat - Freud was convinced that she suffered from hysteria. Her symptoms first appeared, she told Freud, when she discovered her father having sex with her sister. She was frightened, she said, because her father had attempted to force her to have sex with him two years before, when she was just fourteen.

FREUD: "At the end of these memories, she came to a stopů. She was like someone transformed. The sulky, unhappy face had grown lively. Her eyes were bright. She was lightened and exalted."

YOUNG-BRUEHL: You'd be amazed how helpful that can be to someone who's undergone any kind of rape experience or molestation experience, and never been able to tell the tale, to tell it. But we know now that more needs to be done.

BERGMANN: Katharina told him this story, so he thought that now that she confessed it to him, that's it. Freud considered her cured. [But] this is not an analysis. Freud's idea at that time was that you are hysteric because you repress something. The mere act of making it conscious is the cure. The transformation from one realm, the unconscious into another realm, the conscious, is curative. That was Freud's original idea. Later on he learned better.

Later he would learn that to help someone takes more than insight - that there was much more to healing than solving a puzzle.
Later he would learn that to help someone takes more than insight - that there was much more to healing than solving a puzzle. But, in 1893, seven years after he began his search for a cure for hysteria, Freud was still groping. He had helped Katharina, but he only vaguely understood how. His search for answers would lead him to probe still deeper into the inner workings of the mind.



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