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Freud, A. (1966). Obsessional Neurosis: A Summary of Psycho-Analytic Views as Presented at the Congress. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:116-122.

(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:116-122

Obsessional Neurosis: A Summary of Psycho-Analytic Views as Presented at the Congress

Anna Freud


Despite the help in summarizing given to me by my three colleagues, Drs K. T. Calder, P. G. Myerson and S. Ritvo, the task of surveying the Congress's views on obsessional neurosis remains a formidable one. Above all, it is not one which can be compressed into a short time and for this I ask the indulgence of an audience, already tired out by listening.

When selecting obsessional neurosis as the main topic of the Congress, the Programme Committee, knowingly or unknowingly, seems to have been guided by two sentences taken from Freud's 'Notes upon a Case of Obsessional Neurosis' (1909). One, that he was puzzled why it is so difficult to understand obsessional neurosis when, after all, the thought processes in it are so near to ours and the mysterious transition from mind to body, met with in hysteria, is not present. Second, that in this respect the concerted effort of a group of people may succeed where the single individual fails.

As regards the first point, some guidance has been offered to us already by one of the papers contributed to the Congress: namely that obsessional neurosis is hard to unravel not in spite of, but because of the pathology being located in the thought processes themselves, thereby attacking the patient's very means of communicating with us as well as our ability to identify with him and the aberrations of his logic and reasoning. As regards the second point, it is left to our interpretation whether what Freud had in mind was concentrated work on obsessional neurosis by many analysts individually, or the deliberate effort in group discussion and interchange of opinion, as we have witnessed it during this Congress, an effort the result of which we are now encouraged to assess.

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