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Gottlieb, S. (2006). Some Thoughts on Schreber (and Freud): Depression, Paranoia and A Delusional System. Brit. J. Psychother., 22(4):427-447.

(2006). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 22(4):427-447

Some Thoughts on Schreber (and Freud): Depression, Paranoia and A Delusional System

Sue Gottlieb

Freud's paper on Daniel Paul Schreber is a seminal psychoanalytic text (Freud 1911). In it, he sets out his argument that Schreber's paranoid delusions arose from repressed homosexuality. This paper reconsiders the case of Schreber from a contemporary perspective chiefly by studying, as did Freud, Schreber's autobiographical Memoirs of My Nervous Illness (Schreber 1903), but also by drawing upon more recent biographical information. It follows the view put forward by Lothane (1992), and recently elaborated by Steiner (2004), that Schreber's illness was originally depressive in nature, and then progressed to paranoia and finally to a settled delusional system. It reviews many of Freud's insights, contending that although some, such as his understanding of the mechanism of paranoia and the manner by which a delusion of persecution is converted into a religious delusion of grandeur, have stood the test of time, others, such as the causal relationship he proposes between homosexuality and paranoia, do not.

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