Little Hans

Topics: Sigmund Freud, Oedipus complex, Electra complex Pages: 4 (1462 words) Published: March 13, 2013
Little Hans was a 5-year-old boy with a phobia of horses. Like all clinical case studies, the primary aim was to treat the phobia. However, Freud's therapeutic input in this case was minimal, and a secondary aim was to explore what factors might have led to the phobia in the first place, and what factors led to its remission. By 1909 Freud's ideas about the Oedipus complex were well-established and Freud interpreted this case in line with his theory. Freud didn't actually work directly with little Hans, but instead worked through correspondence with Hans' father, who was familiar with Freud's theories, and wrote to him when he first suspected that Hans had become a case that Freud might be interested in. Freud suggested possible lines of questioning which the father could try with Hans, and the father tried them and reported to Freud what had taken place. The first reports of Hans are when he was 3 years old when he developed an active interest in his ‘widdler’ (penis), and also those of other people. For example on one occasion he asked ‘Mummy, have you got a widdler too? Throughout this time, the main theme of his fantasies and dreams was widdlers and widdling. When he was about three years and six months old his mother told him not to touch his widdler or else she would call the doctor to come and cut it off. When Hans was almost 5, Hans’ father wrote to Freud explaining his concerns about Hans. He described the main problem as follows: ‘He is afraid a horse will bite him in the street, and this fear seems somehow connected with his having been frightened by a large penis’. The father went on to provide Freud with extensive details of conversations with Hans. Together, Freud and the father tried to understand what the boy was experiencing and undertook to resolve his phobia of horses. Freud wrote a summary of his treatment of Little Hans, in 1909, in a paper entitled "Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-year-old Boy." Little Hans Case Study - Evidence for the...
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