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Zetzel, E.R. (1966). 1965: Additional Notes Upon a Case of Obsessional Neurosis: Freud 1909. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:123-129.

(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:123-129

1965: Additional Notes Upon a Case of Obsessional Neurosis: Freud 1909

Elizabeth R. Zetzel

It is a great honour and an even greater responsibility to open this first Scientific Session of the 24th International Psycho-Analytical Congress. The patient I am discussing is not only well known—he was the subject of the first presentation at the first international meeting of psycho-analysts ever held, in April 1908. On this basis alone it seems appropriate that a Congress which plans to devote a significant part of its programme to a contemporary review of the obsessional neurosis and its psycho-analytic treatment should begin with a re-examination of the first and possibly most famous obsessional patient discussed in detail by Sigmund Freud.

It was my intention when I first accepted this assignment to base my discussion primarily on the 1909 report published in Freud's Collected Papers. Fortunately, however, I decided to re-read the case history in the Standard Edition. I was surprised and excited by the discovery I made—namely, the unique salvage of Freud's daily notes covering the first four months of this analysis. These informal notes, as Strachey suggests, permit us to identify ourselves with Freud's continuous scrutiny of the material presented by his patient; with his awareness of areas in which the patient's conflicts may have impinged on his own; and with his concurrent reflections as to the possible significance of this analysis for more general understanding of the obsessional neurosis. His frank allusions, finally, to his own participation serve as salutory reminders of the degree to which the papers in which Freud recommended coldness, neutrality, and mirror-like detachment were based on an implicit differentiation between the analyst's position vis-à-vis the transference neurosis and the man's warm and spontaneous participation in the one-to-one doctor-patient relationship which is an indispensible feature of the analytic situation.

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