A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis

By Sigmund Freud | Go to book overview

TWENTY-SEVENTH LECTURE

GENERAL THEORY OF THE NEUROSES

Transference

WE ARE nearing the close of our discussions, and you probably cherish certain expectations, which shall not be disappointed. You think, I suppose, that I have not guided you through thick and thin of psychoanalytic subject matter to dismiss you without a word about therapy, which furnishes the only possibility of carrying on psychoanalysis. I cannot possibly omit this subject, for the observation of some of its aspects will teach you a new fact, without which the understanding of the diseases we have examined would be most incomplete.

I know that you do not expect any guidance in the technique of practising analysis for therapeutic purposes. You wish to know only along what general lines psychoanalytic therapy works and approximately what it accomplishes. And you have an undeniable right to know this. I shall not actually tell you, however, but shall insist that you guess it yourselves.

Only think! You know everything essential, from the conditions which precipitate the illness to all the factors at work within. Where is there room for therapeutic influence? In the first place, there is hereditary disposition; we do not speak of it often because it is strongly emphasized from another quarter, and we have nothing new to say about it. But do not think that we underestimate it. Just because we are therapeutists, we feel its power distinctly. At any rate, we cannot change it; it is a given fact which erects a barrier to our efforts. In the second place, there is the influence of the early experiences of childhood, which are in the habit of becoming sharply emphasized under analysis; they belong to the past and we cannot undo them. And then everything that we include in the term "actual forbearance "—misfortunes of life out of which privations of love

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