0
0

Sections

Excerpt

With the 1909 publication of the case of "Little Hans," Freud started to develop a psychological theory of phobic symptom formation (Freud 1909/1955). Little Hans was a 5-year-old boy who developed a phobia of horses. Through an analysis of the boy's conversations with his parents over a period of months, Freud hypothesized that Little Hans's unconscious and forbidden sexual feelings for his mother and aggressive, rivalrous feelings for his father, blocked from discharge because of repression, became physiologically transformed into anxiety, which was then displaced onto a symbolic object, in this case horses, the avoidance of which partly relieved Little Hans's anxiety. Freud later reconceptualized the case of Little Hans in the context of his evolving structural theory. Freud hypothesized that phobic symptoms occur as part of the resolution of intrapsychic conflict between instinctual impulses, superego prohibitions, and external reality constraints. Signal anxiety is experienced by the ego when such unconscious impulses threaten to break through. Such anxiety serves to mobilize not only further repression but, in the case of phobia formation, projection and displacement of the conflict onto a symbolic object, which can then be avoided as a neurotic solution to the original conflict. In the case of Little Hans, sexual feelings for his mother, aggressive feelings toward his father, and the guilty fear of retribution and castration by his father generated anxiety as a signal of oedipal conflict. The conflict became displaced and projected onto an avoidable object, horses, which Little Hans consequently feared would bite him. According to Freud, such a phobic symptom had two advantages. It avoided the ambivalence inherent in Little Hans's original conflict, because he not only hated but also loved his father. It also allowed his ego to cease generating anxiety as long as he could avoid the sight of horses. The cost of this compromise was that Little Hans had become housebound. Psychodynamic work with phobias, then, focuses on the symbolic meanings that the phobic object carries for any individual and the conflicts that it serves to avoid.

Your session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.
Sign In Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.
Sign In to Access Full Content
 
Username
Password
Sign in via Athens (What is this?)
Athens is a service for single sign-on which enables access to all of an institution's subscriptions on- or off-site.
Not a subscriber?

Subscribe Now/Learn More

PsychiatryOnline subscription options offer access to the DSM-5 library, books, journals, CME, and patient resources. This all-in-one virtual library provides psychiatrists and mental health professionals with key resources for diagnosis, treatment, research, and professional development.

Need more help? PsychiatryOnline Customer Service may be reached by emailing PsychiatryOnline@psych.org or by calling 800-368-5777 (in the U.S.) or 703-907-7322 (outside the U.S.).

References

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Related Content
Articles
Books
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 2.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 12.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 30.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 33.  >
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Geriatric Psychiatry, 4th Edition > Chapter 18.  >
Psychiatric News
PubMed Articles
Expectancy bias in a selective conditioning procedure: trait anxiety increases the threat value of a blocked stimulus. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry 2012;43(2):832-7.doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2011.11.005.
Extinction during reconsolidation of threat memory diminishes prefrontal cortex involvement. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2013;110(50):20040-5.doi:10.1073/pnas.1320322110.
 
  • Print
  • PDF
  • E-mail
  • Chapter Alerts
  • Get Citation