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Dobson, M.W. (2017). Hysteria and Self Psychology. Psychoanal. Inq., 37(2):66-72.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 37(2):66-72

Original Articles

Hysteria and Self Psychology

Marcia W. D.-S. Dobson, Ph.D.

The article uses a self psychological lens to explore the notion of hysterical personality from our earliest understanding of it as the root of all psychogenic disorders, as discovered by Breuer and Freud, to its present elimination in the DSM-V. Can hysteria still be considered an applicable diagnosis or character style in the modern time? Or is it a culturally and historically limited phenomenon that no longer holds validity? Considering the case of Dora from Heinz Kohut’s revolutionary view, which privileges the subjective and empathic stance in treatment, one can infer that Dora’s own hysterical symptoms were not pathological, as Freud thought, but rather healthy attempts to bolster an enfeebled self. Nevertheless, both Kohut and his followers conclude that from a self psychological perspective both object-instinctual understandings, and self-object transferences, are essential for successful analytic treatment.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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