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Strachey, J. (1962). Freud's Views On Phobias, Appendix to Obsessions and Phobias. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume III (1893-1899): Early Psycho-Analytic Publications, 83-84.

Strachey, J. (1962). [SEC83a1]Freud's Views On Phobias, Appendix to Obsessions and Phobias. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume III (1893-1899): Early Psycho-Analytic Publications, 83-84

[SEC83a1]Freud's Views On Phobias, Appendix to Obsessions and Phobias Book Information Previous Up Next

James Strachey


[SEC83a3]Freud's Views on Phobias

[SEC83a4]Freud's earliest approach to the problem of phobias was in his first paper on the neuro-psychoses of defence (1894a); he dealt with it rather more fully a year later in the second section of the present paper and alluded to it again in the first paper on anxiety neurosis (1895b) which he wrote very shortly afterwards. In all these early discussions of phobias it is not hard to detect some uncertainty; indeed, in a further brief reference to the question in the second paper on anxiety neurosis (1895f) Freud speaks of the mechanism of phobias as ‘obscure’ (p. 134). In the earliest of these papers he had attributed the same mechanism to ‘the great majority of phobias and obsessions’ (p. 58), while excepting the ‘purely hysterical phobias’ (p. 57) and ‘the group of typical phobias of which agoraphobia is a model’ (p. 57, footnote 1). This latter distinction, making its first appearance in a footnote, was to prove the crucial one, for it implied a distinction between phobias having a psychical basis and those (the ‘typical’ ones) without any. This distinction thus linked up with that between what were later to be known as the psychoneuroses and the ‘actual neuroses’ (see below, p. 279, n. 1). In these early papers, however, the distinction was not consistently drawn. Thus, in the present paper, it seems to be made not between two different groups of phobias (as in the earlier one) but between the (psychically based) ‘obsessions’ on the one side and the (non-psychically based) ‘phobias’ on the other, the latter being declared to be ‘a part of the anxiety neurosis’ (pp. 80-1). Here, however, the picture is confused by the further division of phobias into two groups according to the nature of their objects (p. 80), and moreover by the segregation (as in the first paper) of another class of phobias ‘which might be called traumatic’ and which are ‘allied to the symptoms of hysteria’ (p. 74).

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