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Loewald, H.W. (1955). Hypnoid State, Repression, Abreaction and Recollection. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 3:201-210.

(1955). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 3:201-210

Hypnoid State, Repression, Abreaction and Recollection

Hans W. Loewald, M.D.

It was the investigation of hysteria which led Freud toward the fundamental discoveries of psychoanalysis. In the following remarks I propose to re-examine some of Freud's early ideas concerning the mechanisms of hysterical phenomena, in an attempt to make explicit certain insights, implied in his earlier writings, which seem to have been blurred subsequently. In particular, I wish to re-examine the early conception of the hypnoid state and its relation to repression.

It appears that Freud, under the impact of his discovery of the basic phenomenon of defense, abandoned the concept of hypnoid hysteria, formulated in accordance with Breuer's ideas about hysteria. In the paper "On the Psychical Mechanism of Hysterical Phenomena" (1893) Freud says, concerning the hypnoid state: "… among the exciting factors of hysterical symptoms we also discover under hypnosis ideas which … owe their preservation to the circumstance that they originated during a period of seriously disabling affect, as for example, terror, or of a clearly abnormal mental condition, such as the half-hypnotic twilight state of day-dreaming, auto-hypnosis, and the like. In these cases it is the nature of these conditions which made a reaction to the event impossible." In other words, this "group of conditions is not determined by the content of the recollections, but by the mental condition of the patient at the moment when the given experience occurred" (1p. 33).

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