Chapter 2
ANXIETY, FRIGHT AND SHOCK

In the previous chapter I have argued that anxiety is that form of vigilance which occurs after one has encountered a danger, problem or opportunity but before one has become aware of its precise nature and thus before one knows whether one is still on familiar territory. As Sir Charles Sherrington has put it: 'A shell of its immediate future surrounds the animal's head. The nerve-nets in the head are therefore busy with signals from a shell of the outside world which the animal is about to enter and experience.' I am suggesting that anxiety occurs when this shell of the immediate future is found to contain something which is unrecognized and which cannot therefore be evaluated immediately.

I have also argued that certain forms of anxiety, notably neurotic apprehensiveness and over-anxious concern, are the result of inward-looking vigilance or signal-anxiety encountering signs of the stirring of repressed, and therefore unconscious, mental activity: stirrings which the individual treats as coming from outside himself and to which he reacts as though they were potentially dangerous.

This definition of anxiety as a form of expectancy makes it possible to distinguish between anxiety and a number of

-16-

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Anxiety and Neurosis
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Introduction xi
  • Chapter 1 - Anxiety, Fear And Expectancy 1
  • Chapter 2 - Anxiety, Fright And Shock 16
  • Chapter 3 - Anxiety, Guilt And Depression 36
  • Chapter 4 - Inhibitions, Symptoms And Anxiety 55
  • Chapter 5 - Defence And Adaptive Behaviour 69
  • Chapter 6 - The Neuroses 95
  • Chapter 7 - Treatment of The Neuroses 128
  • Bibliography 145
  • Index 151
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