Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis


But I soon came to dislike hypnosis, for it was a temperamental and, one might almost say, a mystical ally. When I found that, in spite of all my efforts, I could not succeed in bringing more than a fraction of my patients into a hypnotic state, I determined to give up hypnosis and to make the cathartic procedure independent of it. Since I was not able at will to alter the mental state of the majority of my patients, I set about working with them in their normal state.

Sigmund Freud, 1921

Curator's Comments

Hypnosis was considered an altered state that Freud had difficulty inducing. He came to depend on free association, asking patients to say whatever came into their heads, rather than on the hypnotic powers of suggestion.


Getting patients to experience the effect, or emotion, connected to a traumatic memory was the key to what Breuer and Freud called the cathartic method of treatment.

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