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Barron, J.W. Beaumont, R. Goldsmith, G.N. Good, M.I. Pyles, R.L. Rizzuto, A. Smith, H.F. (1991). Sigmund Freud: The Secrets of Nature and the Nature of Secrets. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 18:143-163.

(1991). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 18:143-163

Sigmund Freud: The Secrets of Nature and the Nature of Secrets

James W. Barron, Ralph Beaumont, Gary N. Goldsmith, Michael I. Good, Robert L. Pyles, Ana-Maria Rizzuto and Henry F. Smith


The hypothesis of this paper is that Freud's creation of psychoanalysis as a scientific discipline appears related to his decision as a 17 year old to eavesdrop on the secrets of Nature as a 'Natural Scientist'.

We further hypothesize that his relationship to his mother, fraught with ambivalence and early pregenital trauma, provided the motivational source of his wish to pursue the secrets of nature as a sublimated and displaced manner of dealing with her, and with his love and his fear of her.

We suggest that the development of psychoanalytic technique and theory, as presented in the light of Freud's search for the 'secret', reveals a dialectical process in which he found 'a secret', lost it, and then, refound it again in an altered form. We suggest that the body of analytic theory may be presented historically as Freud's successive creation of conceptual models to describe his progressive understanding of the mind's processes to keep hidden that which must not be revealed.

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