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Hinshelwood, B. (1992). Editorial. Brit. J. Psychother., 9(2):131-132.

(1992). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 9(2):131-132


Bob Hinshelwood

In January 1893 Breuer and Freud published a preliminary communication. It ushered in the twentieth century view of human nature. It is now one hundred years on. We asked a number of psycho-analysts and psychotherapists for a contemporary reaction to those origins in the 1890's. Mostly there was an enthusiastic response to reflecting on our past and where we have come. These papers form a substantial section in this issue of the Journal.

David Smith pinpoints the moment in Freud's work on the preliminary communication and the Studies on Hysteria when the notion of the ‘unconscious’ emerges with a new and more precise meaning as the cornerstone of psycho-analytic theory.

Sabbadini reviews the case of Katharina whose identity has recently been unearthed by Peter Swales; and thus some estimate of her ‘follow-up’ condition after her consultation with Freud can now be made. David Bell looks at the original cases too. But he views them in the light of modern psychiatric and psycho-analytic practice. The clinical absence of similar symptoms in patients today may, he concludes, merely represent a difference in presenting symptoms. The narcissistic and borderline patients so commonly reported in contemporary psycho-analysis are the direct descendents of nineteenth century hysterics. They have the same core psychopathology. Such patients clearly have a very variable method of presenting themselves which is highly culturally dependent; perhaps dependent on the changing culture of the ‘clinic’ itself.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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