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Tyson, P. (1996). Commentaries. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:392-396.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44:392-396


Phyllis Tyson


At the beginning of this century, Freud (1905) published Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. Having conjectured from his early clinical work that certain kinds of childhood experiences are antecedents to adult neurosis, he concluded that a symptom of emotional origin cannot be eradicated until this origin and its subsequent development are traced. Freud soon recognized that in tracing this development via reconstruction, distortions crept in, and that recollected memories are to be regarded more as reflecting the influence of unconscious fantasy, conflict, and defense than as veridical accounts of past experience. Consequently, he recommended that psychoanalytic investigations be supplemented by direct observation of children. “Psychoanalytic investigation, reaching back into childhood from a later time, and contemporary observation combine” (1905p. 201), he averred, to form the body of knowledge of psychoanalysis. Freud (1909) provided the first example in the case of Little Hans. This landmark account contained a developmental perspective; that is, it contained observations about the boy's experiences and his reactions to them in statu nascendi.

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