Studies on Hysteria


Each individual hysterical symptom immediately and permanently disappeared when we had succeeded in bringing clearly to light the memory of the event by which it was provoked and in arousing its accompanying affect, and when the patient had described that event in the greatest possible detail and put the affect into words. Recollection without affect almost invariably produces no result.

Sigmund Freud, 1895

Curator's Comments

Freud and Breuer thought they could relieve symptoms of hysterical patients by getting them to convert their traumatic memories into words while experiencing the emotional pain connected to those memories.


Hysteria was used as a label for a disease usually associated with women, whose symptoms could not be found to have an organic cause.

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