Psychoanalysis was huge in the success of Sigmund Freud. Freud proclaimed that we are not the rational rulers of our lives but are under the influence of unconscious forces of which we are unaware and over which we have little, if any, control. Freud was pondering over the sexual basis of emotional disturbances. Sexual abuse as a child or adolescent affects ones future as an adult. Child sexual abuse has been reported up to 80,000 times a year (Facts for Family, 2011). Sexual seduction in childhood seems to be reported mostly by woman to be the root of their behavior and main reason for needing some kind of therapy practice. Because of the abuse it affects you more as an adult when you’re trying to have a relationship or sexual contact with others and so I focus on Freud’s theories and therapy practices to understand ways to cope and get passed the abuse. His approach evolves in steps such as levels of consciousness or theory of consciousness, analysis of mental structures, psychosexual stages of development, defense mechanisms, and means of tapping the unconscious. Provided are some statistics to outline how big of an issue this is.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau report Child Maltreatment 2010 found that 9.2% of victimized children were sexually assaulted (p24). Studies by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center show that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse. Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident. During a one-year period in the U.S., of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized. Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized. Children are most vulnerable to child sexual abuse between the ages of 7 and 13 (Finkelhor, 2009).
Although no one wants to hear these statistics and believe that this occurs it’s sad to say it doesn’t end here. According to a 2003 National Institute of Justice report, 3 out of 4 adolescents who have been sexually victimized by someone they knew well (p5). Sexual abuse when you’re young and sexual abuse from someone you know well all factors into how you are when you’re an adult. Freud’s seduction hypothesis concluded that emotional disturbances could be related to childhood sexual trauma.
To get a little overview and insight into this big issue I will discuss the case of Anna O. Anna O. was Josef Breuer’s patient whom also shared this and many other cases with Freud. This case is what started the development of psychoanalysis. Through her therapy she would recall specific experiences that seemed to have given rise to certain symptoms. Talking about her experiences often relieved the symptoms. She referred to their conversations as chimney sweeping or the talking cure. As their sessions continued, Breuer realized that the incidents Anna remembered involved thoughts or events she found repulsive. Reliving the disturbing experiences reduced or eliminated the symptoms.
All nightmares, phobias, and fears which influence you but why you have them is because of the unconscious and Freud suggests ways or techniques of reaching that unconscious through his free association technique. A child who is the victim of prolonged sexual abuse usually develops low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness and an abnormal or distorted view of sex (Facts for families, 2011). Although each individual is different some unique responses to sexual abuse that are common among many is low self-esteem or self-hatred and many survivors suffer from depression. There is a lack of trust for anyone especially if it’s someone they were dependent upon like family and teachers. 93% of victims under the age of 18 know their attacker (Finkelhor, 2009). Many have flashbacks where they re-experience the...