A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis

By Sigmund Freud | Go to book overview

TWENTY-EIGHTH LECTURE

GENERAL THEORY OF THE NEUROSES

Analytical Therapy

YOU know our subject for today. You asked me why we do not make use of direct suggestion in psychoanalytic therapy, when we admit that our influence depends substantially upon transference, i.e., suggestion, for you have come to doubt whether or not we can answer for the objectivity of our psychological discoveries in the face of such a predominance of suggestion. I promised to give you a comprehensive answer.

Direct suggestion is suggestion directed against the expression of the symptoms, a struggle between your authority and the motives of the disease. You pay no attention during this process to the motives, but only demand of the patient that he suppress their expression in symptoms. So it makes no difference in principle whether you hypnotize the patient or not. Bernheim, with his usual perspicacity, asserted that suggestion is the essential phenomenon underlying hypnotism, that hypnotism itself is already a result of suggestion, is a suggested condition. Bernheim was especially fond of practising suggestion upon a person in the waking state, and could achieve the same results as with suggestion under hypnosis.

What shall I deal with first, the evidence of experience or theoretic considerations?

Let us begin with our experiences. I was a pupil of Bernheim's, whom I sought out in Nancy in 1889, and whose book on suggestion I translated into German. For years I practised hypnotic treatment, at first by means of prohibitory suggestions alone, and later by this method in combination with investigation of the patient after the manner of Breuer. So I can speak from experience about the results of hypnotic or suggestive therapy. If we judge Bernheim's method according to the old doctor's

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