Analyzing Anna O
Examining the theories of Sigmund Freud, Joseph Breuer and Carl Jung
March 20, 2013
Bertha Pappenheim, better known as Anna O, in the world of psychology, was 21 years old when she first became a patient of Dr. Josef Breuer. She was said to be a gifted girl, with a high intellect. Sadly, however, she had a series of psychological and physical disturbances that rendered her almost incapable of functioning.
“She suffered from a rigid paralysis, accompanied by loss of sensation, of both extremities on the right side of her body; and the same trouble from time to time affected her on her left side. Her eye movements were disturbed and her power of vision was subject to numerous restrictions.” (freudfile.org) In addition to these problems she also suffered confusion, delirium and alteration of her personality. (This was described as “absence” at the time) She had head posture problems, and was unable to speak or understand her native language at times. Throughout her treatment with Dr. Breuer, these and other additional conditions would surface.
It was during her treatment that Sigmund Freud showed an interest in her case. Breuer was an associate of Freud and had trained under him. Breuer had disagreements with some of Freud’s theories and set out to start his own practice. It was this case that inspired the “psychoanalytic cure”, which was the start of the widely used psychoanalytic methods used today. At the onset of Anna’s case, Dr. Breuer seemed at a lost with how to treat her. However, as Anna’s treatment progressed, he gained insight when he observed that, “while the patient was in her states of 'absence (altered personality accompanied by confusion), she was in the habit of muttering a few words to herself which seemed as though they arose from some train of thought that...
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