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Lewin, B.D. (1965). Teaching and the Beginnings of Theory. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 46:137-139.

(1965). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 46:137-139

Teaching and the Beginnings of Theory

Bertram D. Lewin

For the preparation of a didactic article, I had occasion recently to re-read attentively the literature on the phobias, particularly of course Freud's writings on the subject. About the same time, I was re-reading the essays of Heinz Hartmann (1964) in their new format, which deal so comprehensively with the problems of theory and theorizing. Because of this dual 'actual situation', I was sensitive simultaneously to the practical problems of didactic exposition and to the role and meaning of theory-formation. Specifically, I was doubly alerted to the problem of teaching about phobias and to the development of Freud's theories of the neuroses. It occurred to me, among other things, that, in the particular writings I reviewed, there was a progressive alteration in the meaning of the words 'Little Hans'. On first acquaintance in the 1909 paper (Freud, 1909), Little Hans is a boy of five, with many facets and interests and several prominent problems, among them the presenting fact of his fear of horses. There is much more than a 'phobia' in this paper, and its findings and interpretations have provided models for the understanding of many infantile situations, not only those connected with neurosis. Notably the paper is the foundation of child analysis. The paper is obviously useful in multiple ways and has indeed been much used and quoted.

Freud himself found it very quotable in the specific matter of neurosis-formation and neurosis-theory, and it is here that his later teaching can be thought of as giving the term 'Little Hans' new meaning.

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