Topics: Hypnosis, Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalysis Pages: 6 (2281 words) Published: February 26, 2011
From the late 1800's until the 1930's, psychologists were divided about what they should study and how they should study it. Four major schools developed. These schools were: structuralism, behaviorism, Gestalt psychology, and psychoanalysis. The last of which, the content of this paper refers to. Psychoanalysis is a method of analyzing psychic phenomena and treating emotional disorders that involves treatment sessions during which the patient is encouraged to talk freely about personal experiences and especially about early childhood and dreams (Feldman, 1999). Psychoanalysis is both a theory of mental functioning and a specific type of psychological treatment philosophy (Grünbaum, 1984). Freudian psychoanalysis refers to a specific type of treatment in which the analytic patient verbalizes thoughts, including free associations, fantasies, and dreams, from which the analyst formulates the unconscious conflicts causing the patient's symptoms and character problems, and interprets them for the patient to create insight for resolution of the problems (Hendrick, 1999). When psychoanalysis was started it was not in the shape of psychoanalysis. When it began, it was in the shape of hypnosis. When we look at the history of psychoanalysis, we find a few major influential figures- before Sigmund Feud-who contributed significantly to the development of psychoanalysis: viz Franz Anton Mesmer, The Nancy School- Liebault and Bernheim, Jean Martin Charcot, and Josef Breuer (Bootzin & Acocella, 1988). Franz Anton Mesmer was a German physician and astrologist, who discovered what he called magnétisme animal (animal magnetism) and other spiritual forces often grouped together as mesmerism. The evolution of Mesmer's ideas and practices led Scottish surgeon James Braid to develop hypnosis in 1842. Mesmer's name is the root of the English verb "mesmerize"(Grünbaum, 1984). After studying at the Jesuit universities of Dillingen and Ingolstadt, he took up the study of medicine at the University of Vienna in 1759 (Thompson, 2002). In 1766 he published a doctoral dissertation with the Latin title De planetarum influxu in corpus humanum (On the Influence of the Planets on the Human Body), which discussed the influence of the Moon and the planets on the human body and on disease. This was not medical astrology—relying largely on Newton's theory of the tides, Mesmer expounded on certain tides in the human body that might be accounted for by the movements of the sun and moon (Grünbaum, 1984). In 1774, Mesmer produced an "artificial tide" in a patient by having her swallow a preparation containing iron, and then attaching magnets to various parts of her body (Bootzin & Acocella, 1988). She reported feeling streams of a mysterious fluid running through her body and was relieved of her symptoms for several hours. Mesmer did not believe that the magnets had achieved the cure on their own. He felt that he had contributed animal magnetism, which had accumulated in his work, to her. He soon stopped using magnets as a part of his treatment (Hendrick, 1999). In 1775, Mesmer was invited to give his opinion before the Munich Academy of Sciences on the exorcisms carried out by Johann Joseph Gassner, a priest and healer. Mesmer said that while Gassner was sincere in his beliefs, his cures were due to the fact that he possessed a high degree of animal magnetism. This confrontation between Mesmer's secular ideas and Gassner's religious beliefs marked the end of Gassner's career as well as, according to Henri Ellenberger, the emergence of dynamic psychiatry (Grünbaum, 1984). The scandal which followed Mesmer's unsuccessful attempt to treat the blindness of an 18-year-old musician, Maria Theresia Paradis, led him to leave Vienna in 1777. The following year Mesmer moved to Paris, rented an apartment in a part of the city preferred by the wealthy and powerful, and established a medical practice. Paris soon divided into those who thought he was a charlatan...
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