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Edel, R.R. (1968). What Little Hans Learned—Review of a Learning Theory Approach. Contemp. Psychoanal., 4(2):189-204.

(1968). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 4(2):189-204

What Little Hans Learned—Review of a Learning Theory Approach

Roberta R. Edel, Ph.D.

JOSEPH WOLPE and STANLEY RACHMAN, "A Critique of Freud's Case of Little Hans" in Personality Theory and Research, Eugene A. Southwell and Michael Merbaum, Editors. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1964.

LITTLE HANS, age four and three-quarter years, in "analysis" with his father who was supervised by Freud, is well-known to all students of psychoanalysis. Freud described the boy's treatment in 1909 4, and his report has since become a classic example of the orthodox Freudian view of personality development, particularly of the Oedipus complex. As psychoanalysis has grown and diversified over the half century since Freud's report, little Hans and his phobic interlude have often provided example and text for theoretical discussion amongst analysts and other personality theorists.

The latest writers to turn their attention to little Hans are the learning theorists—laboratory psychologists who are currently bringing into the clinic their impressive experience with animals and people and observations on how behavior is learned and modified. A significant statement of their views is provided by Joseph Wolpe and Stanley Rachman, leading researchers in that field. They have chosen to follow Freud's case in detail, to illustrate their objections to psychoanalysis as a valid method of personality study. Using Freud's own case material, they criticize his conclusions, and then present their own view of Hans's phobia.

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