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(1956). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 3, 1955, No. 2: Hans W. Loewald. 'Hypnoid State, Repression, Abreaction, and Recollection.'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 37:208.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 3, 1955, No. 2: Hans W. Loewald. 'Hypnoid State, Repression, Abreaction, and Recollection.'

(1956). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 37:208

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 3, 1955, No. 2: Hans W. Loewald. 'Hypnoid State, Repression, Abreaction, and Recollection.'

This paper consists of a re-examination of Freud's early ideas concerning the mechanisms of hysterical phenomena with particular emphasis on the relationship between the concept of the hypnoid state and repression. Although Freud gave up the theory of the hypnoid state in favour of the concept of defence, the former nevertheless reappeared in later formulations concerned with the importance of sexuality in the neuroses. It is suggested that an intimate association exists between the psychological character of the hypnoid state and the 'infantile condition of the psychic functions'. Loewald points out that in neither instance will a traumatic experience evoke a psychological reaction. If sexual stimulation occurs during the period of psychosexual immaturity no associative absorption of the event is possible, but a memory trace remains which can be reactivated later when maturity is reached. The memory trace will exert its influence on the way the new stimulus is experienced. The recognition of infantile sexuality does not contradict this hypothesis which sees a similarity between psycho-sexual immaturity and the hypnoid state.

The author believes that the hypnoid state is comparable with the psychological state of early childhood. Once the hypnoid state is freed from its connotation of an abnormal mental condition it can be seen as equivalent to the ego states appropriate to the period of infantile sexuality. The two states have in common the inability to absorb instinctual experiences associatively and the tendency to register traumatic incidents as unconscious memory traces. Repression and hypnoid state are thought of as being the basic elements in hysterical mechanisms. The phenomenon of repression cannot be adequately understood without recognizing that it represents a highly developed version of a primitive type of psychical functioning. In early childhood the undeveloped condition of the mental apparatus makes it impossible for traumatic or other vivid experiences to achieve conscious or preconscious integration. Their revival by means of abreaction, through recollection, affective discharge, and verbalization is beyond and deeper than the resolution of repression. There is a lifting up of unconscious material (the memory traces of the traumata) and a transformation of the primary process into the secondary process. The tendency for the unconscious to relinquish its hold upon memory traces constantly occurs in psycho-analyses during periods of working through.

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Article Citation

(1956). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 3, 1955, No. 2. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 37:208

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