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Wälder, R. (1929). Hemmung, Symptom Und Angst: By Sigm. Freud. (Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag, Vienna, 1926. Pp. 136.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 10:103-111.

(1929). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 10:103-111

Hemmung, Symptom Und Angst: By Sigm. Freud. (Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag, Vienna, 1926. Pp. 136.)

Review by:
R. Wälder

The extraordinary richness of the content of this book, which not only discusses a series of the most important problems of psycho-analysis, but at the same time throws new light on nearly every question within the range of psycho-analytical investigation, even if only in passing, presents the reviewer with a particular difficulty. Confronted with this wealth he has hardly any other course open than to make a selection, in which naturally an element of subjective interest is bound to enter. Perhaps this danger will be most readily diminished, even if not avoided, by presenting his material along the lines of the leading problems of the work.

Freud begins with the question of the difference between inhibition and symptom. Clearly both ideas have ground in common; there are inhibitions which are symptoms and symptoms which consist essentially of inhibitions; but they do not in general coincide. Now what are inhibitions? Freud discusses the various possible kinds of inhibition, and after reviewing the results of analytical empiricism he comes to distinguish three mechanisms. In one group of cases an activity appears to be inhibited on account of the meaning which it takes on; when an activity becomes sexualized, i.e. takes on a sexual meaning for the person concerned, or when this meaning, which may indeed be present in any case, becomes excessively pressing, the activity itself becomes subject to the defensive measures appropriate to its sexual significance.

In the second group it is not the meaning of the activity that is responsible for its inhibition, but the possibility of attaining results in reality by means of it; the person who is governed by the need for punishment must deny himself an action which the world or fate would reward with success.

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