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Aron, L. (1996). From Hypnotic Suggestion To Free Association: Freud As A Psychotherapist, Circa 1892–1893. Contemp. Psychoanal., 32:99.

(1996). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 32:99

From Hypnotic Suggestion To Free Association: Freud As A Psychotherapist, Circa 1892–1893

Lewis Aron, Ph.D.

IN THIS ARTICLE, I want to celebrate one aspect of Freud's creative genius, and in doing so, I want to make use of Freud as a model for contemporary students of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. My use of Freud in this way will, ironically, have subversive implications for psychoanalytic practice. The facet of Freud's originality that I will focus on is his unsurpassed ability and determination to develop a way of working as a psychotherapist that was uniquely his own and that best expressed his own character. Freud believed that he was discovering a scientific method, an instrument that to a great extent eliminated or minimized what he called "the subjective factor." Nevertheless, he recognized that to work as a psychotherapist, different people were likely to need varying procedures. In the third chapter of Studies on Hysteria(Breuer & Freud, 1893–1895), the case of Miss Lucy R., Freud wrote, perhaps a bit sarcastically, in regard to the practice of clinical hypnosis, that he was sure that many other physicians who practice psychotherapy could deal with certain technical difficulties with more skill than he could. "If so, " he went on, "they may adopt some procedure other than mine" (p. 109). This comment foreshadows his later remark, in the opening paragraph of his (1912) "Recommendations to physicians practicing psycho-analysis": "I must, however, expressly state that this technique has proved to be the only method suited to my individuality; I do not

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