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Schwartz, C. (1998). Freud's Treatment of the “Rat Man”: A Polemic with His Critics. Psychoanal. Rev., 85(3):373-397.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Review, 85(3):373-397

Freud's Treatment of the “Rat Man”: A Polemic with His Critics

Charlotte Schwartz, MSS, CSW

To propose a discussion on Freud's treatment of the Rat Man, when much has already been said on the subject (Kanzer & Glenn, 1980a & b; Lipton, 1977, 1979; Mahoney, 1980) sets up the anticipation of a repetitive foray. The case histories have been the object of meticulous scrutiny and it would seem that there is little to gain by this essay. Nevertheless, any renewed study of Freud is bound to produce some revelation, for his genius often showed itself in his biblical-like expositions—a capacity to state in elliptical form an idea of profound theoretical or methodological import. There is scarcely an idea or aspect of theory in our current discourse that can not be found either explicitly or implicitly in Freud's writings. The Ran Man resonates with much that contemporary treatment issues are concerned with: such current ideas as the dialogue between patient and analyst, and the immediacy of experience (Poland, 1992; Chused, 1992) are evident in Freud's treatment of Paul Lorenze. His remarks regarding the process of psychoanalysis and discussions that at time take on the tone of an educational or intellectual exercise were in essence a dyadic dialogue that contributed to the experiential mode for the unfolding of the transference. Though, true, Freud was not focusing directly upon transference theories in his theoretical exposition of this case, it is clear in the treatment and in Freud's terse comments that these issues were paramount to the work. Undoubtedly, this case contributed to the development of his ideas in the technique papers (1910, 1912a, 1912b, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1919).


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