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Lepoutre, T. Villa, F. (2015). Freud with Charcot: Freud's Discovery and the Question of Diagnosis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(2):345-368.

(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(2):345-368

History of Psychoanalysis

Freud with Charcot: Freud's Discovery and the Question of Diagnosis Language Translation

Thomas Lepoutre and François Villa

(Accepted for publication 1 May 2014)

Although Charcot's seminal role in influencing Freud is widely stated, although Freud's trip to Paris to study with Charcot is well recognized as pivotal in his shift from neurological to psychopathological work, a key fact of the Freudian heuristic remains largely underestimated: namely, that Freud's psychopathological breakthrough, which gave birth to psychoanalysis, cannot be separated from his ‘diagnostic preoccupation’, which is a crucial and at times the first organizing principle of his earliest writings. The purpose of this article is therefore to reopen the question of diagnosis by following its development along the path leading from Charcot to Freud. The authors demonstrate that Freud's careful attention to diagnostic distinctions follows strictly in the direction of Charcot's ‘nosological method’. More importantly, the article intends to identify the precise way in which his ideas operate in Freud's own work, in order to understand how Freud reinvests them to forge his own nosological system. If the authors trace the destiny of Charcot's lessons as they reach Freud's hands, it is the importance granted to mixed neuroses in Freud's psychopathology that allows them to pinpoint the role played by the diagnostic process in the rationality of psychoanalysis.

[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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