Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To save a shortcut to an article to your desktop…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

The way you save a shortcut to an article on your desktop depends on what internet browser (and device) you are using.

  • Safari
  • Chrome
  • Internet Explorer
  • Opera


For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Reich, W. (1926). The Sources of Neurotic Anxiety: A Contribution to the Theory of Psycho-Analytic Therapy. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 7:381-391.

Welcome to PEP Web!

Viewing the full text of this document requires a subscription to PEP Web.

If you are coming in from a university from a registered IP address or secure referral page you should not need to log in. Contact your university librarian in the event of problems.

If you have a personal subscription on your own account or through a Society or Institute please put your username and password in the box below. Any difficulties should be reported to your group administrator.


Can't remember your username and/or password? If you have forgotten your username and/or password please click here and log in to the PaDS database. Once there you need to fill in your email address (this must be the email address that PEP has on record for you) and click "Send." Your username and password will be sent to this email address within a few minutes. If this does not work for you please contact your group organizer.

OpenAthens or federation user? Login here.

Not already a subscriber? Order a subscription today.

(1926). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 7:381-391

The Sources of Neurotic Anxiety: A Contribution to the Theory of Psycho-Analytic Therapy

Wilhelm Reich

From the point of view of causal psycho-therapy, the first task of psycho-analysis is to bring into consciousness the meaning of neurotic anxiety, both manifest and larval; only when this has been done are we in a position to influence the sources of anxiety, which, as Freud has shown, is derived, in the last event, from instinctual energy. This therapeutic modification merely implies a fresh orientation of the instincts in the sense that the latter are regulated in a way more adapted to the requirements of reality. Nevertheless various sources of neurotic anxiety can be distinguished by reference to their dynamic power. Permanent cure, which is the ultimate aim of all psycho-analysis, can only be brought about by successful modification of the most important dynamic sources of anxiety. Etiologically speaking, the significance of sources of anxiety can be judged by their mutual relations: one would regard as secondary those sources of anxiety which (1) become pathogenic for the first time during the neurotic processes of regression and repression, and of which (2) the dynamic force is mainly borrowed from other sources.

Freud was the first to show that sexual abstinence or inadequate gratification are an immediate source of anxiety. This 'actual anxiety' is related to a damming-up of somatic libido and disappears when this pathogenic factor is eliminated. Moreover, he found that anxiety can arise when the moral ego is not completely successful in suppressing a libidinal excitation: the repressed impulse returns in the form of anxiety. The latter is an ego-anxiety and is a reaction to the claims of instinct. Since every sexual repression brings about a blockage of somatic libido, actual anxiety is the core of all neurotic anxieties. The situation is complicated by the fact that Freud


1 'The justification for detaching from neurasthenia a particular syndrome: the anxiety-neurosis' (1894), Collected Papers, Vol. I.

2 Introductory Lectures.

3 Das Trauma der Geburt, Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag, 1924.

4 'ber neurotische Disposition', Jahrbuch für psychoanalytische Forschung, 1909: Der Nervöse Charakter, 2 Aufl., 1919.

5 Federn: Lecture delivered at the Seventh Psycho-analytical Congress, Berlin, 1922.

- 381 -

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2017, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.