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Lebovici, S. (1970). Clinical and Technical Notes Concerning Psychoanalysis with Regard to Phobias Affecting Men. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 51:23-31.

(1970). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 51:23-31

Clinical and Technical Notes Concerning Psychoanalysis with Regard to Phobias Affecting Men

S. Lebovici


In this study I have attempted to cast some light on the difficulties met by the psychoanalyst in the cure of male anxiety hysteria. It is said that it is rarer than in women, but it is definitely more serious or at least as serious as its more severe form observed in women. Whereas infantile phobias are observed with equal frequency in boys and in girls, my personal experience leads me to believe that male anxiety hysteria stems from true phobic neurosis with severe inhibition areas manifesting themselves from childhood onwards.

As is shown by the last works of Freud, in particular 'Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety', it is of prime importance to understand what happens to the aggressivity when it is displaced on to the phobia-creating object, at both the metapsychological and the technical levels.

Now, in the case of women, the counter-cathexis of aggressive impulse representatives is expressed by passivity, which is an accepted feminine trait. According to Freudian theory, castration is a biological fact difficult to accept and is the basic cause of the oedipus complex in women. In men, on the other hand, fear of castration is accompanied by secondary and differentiated post-oedipal identifications. Therefore the effort of elaboration on the function of the superego is extremely inadequate in the case of men suffering from phobias. In such cases, it is necessary to concentrate on the femininity and passivity, on the components of repressed anal eroticism through which these tendencies could be expressed. Unfortunately, femininity and passivity are culturally prohibited in men. Nevertheless, the

integration of such tendencies represents a technical objective of the greatest importance, which, however, is difficult to achieve and thus makes the psychoanalytical cure of these cases particularly arduous.

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