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Segalla, R. Segalla, R., Jr. (2017). Epilogue: Contemporary Perspectives on Hysteria. Psychoanal. Inq., 37(2):126.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 37(2):126


Epilogue: Contemporary Perspectives on Hysteria

Rosemary Segalla, Ph.D. and Roger J. Segalla, Jr., Ph.D.

Anyone who has ceased considering hysteria as worthy of the attention of clinicians may find themselves reconsidering their dismissal. What we hope, as editors of this issue of Psychoanalytic Inquiry, is that these articles will stimulate further exploration and reconceptualization of hysteria from multiple contemporary perspectives. It is apparent in all the articles offered that hysteria does continue to be viewed as a complex clinical phenomenon. The authors’ explication of their particular perspective of hysteria offers the reader ample material with which to explore his or her own perspective. Perhaps there will emerge another way in which to reimagine the symptoms of particular patients, especially those who have been elusive and difficult to understand.

The great variety of hysterical manifestations may cause us to ignore particular symptoms that do not easily fit any usual clinical profile. As has been pointed out by our authors, the complexity of the symptomology is matched by the complexity of the contextual variables. That is, hysteria has manifested differently within changing cultural contexts. This is reflective of changes in the culture that either supports or denies the disorder.

Each article in the issue highlights a particular theoretical position. It is important to note that, despite many individual differences among the authors, there is an overriding sense of appreciation of the pain of the symptoms experienced by the patient. Though there are a variety of theoretical differences, there is manifest in each clinical example an abiding empathic connection with the suffering patient. We see demonstrated in each article a strong relational connection with the patient, capturing what is essential in good treatment. This is reflective of the skill of these senior clinicians as they work with a most complex disorder.

We extend a very appreciative thank you to our contributors. Each has accomplished a much-needed task. That is, they have reminded us that hysteria continues to baffle us today and though more recently we have chosen to ignore it, the time is here to reconsider our own personal views on this issue. So, you might ask yourself if you have embraced or dismissed hysteria, reconsidering how you deal with its manifestations in your treatment room. We hope these articles help you with that reassessment.

[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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