248 SYSTEMS OF TREATING STAMMERING
"The patient lies on his back on a lounge, the physician
sitting behind the patient's head at the head of the lounge.
In this way the patient remains free from all external influences
and impressions. The object is to avoid all muscular exertion
and distraction, thus allowing thorough concentration of atten-
tion on the patient's own psychic activities. The patient is
then asked to give a detailed account of his troubles, after hav-
ing been told before to repeat everything that occurs to his
mind, even such thoughts as may cause him embarrassment or
mortification. On listening to such a history one invariably
notices many memory gaps, both in reference to time and
causal relations. These the patient is urged to fill in by concen-
tration of attention on the subject in question, and by repeating
all the unintentional thoughts originating in this connection.
This is the so-called method of 'free association!' The pa-
tient is required to relate all his thoughts in the order of their
sequence even if they seem irrelevant to him. He must do
away with all critique and remain perfectly passive. It is in
this way that we fathom the original meaning of the symptom.
But as 'the thoughts which originate in this manner are of a
disagreeable and painful nature they are pushed back with the
greatest resistance. This is further enhanced by the fact that
the hysterical symptom is the symbolic expression of the reali-
zation of a repressed wish, and serves as a gratification for the
patient. He strives very hard, unconsciously of course, to
retain the symptom, as it is the only tiling left to him from his
former unattainable conscious wishes and strivings. The
object of the psychoanalytic treatment is to overcome all these
resistances, and to reconduct to the patient's consciousness the
thoughts underlying the symptoms."x
1 Brill, in the translator's preface to Freud's "Selected Papers
on Hysteria and Other Psychoneuroses."