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Midgley, N. (2006). Re-Reading “Little Hans”: Freud's Case Study and the Question of Competing Paradigms in Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 54(2):537-559.

(2006). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 54(2):537-559

Re-Reading “Little Hans”: Freud's Case Study and the Question of Competing Paradigms in Psychoanalysis

Nicholas Midgley

Psychoanalysts have long recognized the complex interaction between clinical data and formal psychoanalytic theories. While clinical data are often used to provide “evidence” for psychoanalytic paradigms, the theoretical model used by the analyst also structures what can and cannot be seen in the data. This delicate interaction between theory and clinical data can be seen in the history of interpretations of Freud's “Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-Year-Old Boy” (“Little Hans”). Freud's himself revised his reading of the case in 1926, after which a number of psychoanalysts— including Melanie Klein, Jacques Lacan, and John Bowlby—reinter-preted the case in the light of their particular models of the mind. These analysts each found “evidence” for their theoretical model within this classic case study, and in doing so they illuminated aspects of the case that had previously been obscured, while also revealing a great deal about the shifting preoccupations of psychoanalysis as a field.

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