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Aguayo, J. (1986). Charcot and Freud: Some Implications of Late 19th Century French Psychiatry and Politics for the Origins of Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Contemp. Thought, 9:223-260.

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(1986). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 9(2):223-260

Charcot and Freud: Some Implications of Late 19th Century French Psychiatry and Politics for the Origins of Psychoanalysis

Joseph Aguayo, Ph.D.

The Historical Problem

One hundred years ago, Sigmund Freud, a struggling 29-year-old Viennese physician, received a traveling fellowship to study in Paris with Europe's most renowned neurologist, Jean Martin Charcot. Freud was later to remember the experience of this 4½-month stay, from October 1885 to February 1886, as catalytic in turning him toward the practice of medical psychopathology and away from a less financially promising career in research neurology. The studies with Charcot in the areas of


Dr. Aguayo is currently pursuing his doctoral studies in European Intellectual History in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He also holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, serving as Clinical Supervisor at the UCLA Outpatient Psychology Clinic while maintaining a private practice.

Acknowledgments. The author would like to thank the following colleagues at UCLA for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper: Robert Westman, Peter Loewenberg, Eugen Weber, Edward Berenson, Dora Weiner, David Echeandia, Stuart Perlman, and William Kaz.

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